Play with special message takes Central Texas One Act team to states

Edie Conner (L) plays Kassie, who is Josephine's best friend, played by Allison Martin (R).
Edie Conner (L) plays Kassie, who is Josephine's best friend, played by Allison Martin (R).(Courtesy China Spring High School)
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 5:20 AM CDT
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CHINA SPRING, Texas (KWTX) - On Thursday, China Spring High School’s One Act team competed in the state meet. It’s something that hasn’t happened since 2013, but there’s something else that makes this achievement special.

The play the students are performing, Rue, was written by Mandy Conner, director of theater at China Spring High School.

Conner said she wrote the play as a sort of love letter to her daughters. It’s about a girl named Josephine who lives in the swamp. She is on a journey to discover what happened to her parents, but she’s also working through her struggles with anxiety.

Allison Martin, who plays Josephine, said it’s been incredibly exciting to make it to states, especially with this play.

“I think it’s so near and dear to our hearts,” Martin said. “Being able to take that, especially personally, with the role, it’s almost surreal. It means so much to me to be able to go out and tell that story on the state stage.”

Getting to this level hasn’t come without challenges.

“It has been a marathon, it has really taken a toll,” Myles Rodriguez, state manager, said. “But I’m here for it.”

Try-outs for the play were in November, and rehearsals began in December. Since then, the teens have been practicing for hours every week, on top of their other classes and responsibilities.

Martin said there were also some extra nerves because for some students, this was their first true competition due to COVID.

“It’s a little nerve wracking, obviously, since this is like our first real year of competing, but it’s so incredibly exciting just to get to that top level and compete with everyone,” Martin said.

Edie Conner, Mandy’s daughter, plays Kassie, who is Josephine’s best friend. She said it’s amazing to be able to perform in a play written and directed by her mom, especially one with this message.

“I’ve always just dreamed of performing,” Conner said. “But to be able to make an impact on people to the point that we get to move this far is just amazing.”

Conner said the play is fiction, but there are pieces that are true to her and her family’s life and they were difficult to write at times, but she said the play also has an important message.

“There are tiny steps that we can take every day that can help us to cope and to understand and whether we suffer with it or not,” Conner said. “I hope that other people can understand that that is a real a real thing that people struggle with.”

The state competition is from May 5-7 in Round Rock. China Spring High School performed on May 5.

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