The Drama Director at Chattahoochee High School CHS), Haley Walter, is taking the school’s entry for the Georgia High School Association(GHSA) One-Act regional competition later this month to a new level of complexity. Since joining the school faculty three years ago, she has added an advanced Acting class and watched enrollment in Technical Theatre grow quadruple in that time. Walter says her current students are ready for the extreme challenge found in The Insanity of Mary Girard by Samuel French. Set in the late 1700’s, the play centers on a woman sent to an insane asylum by her husband. Normally produced with college level actors due to the intensity and mature themes of the show, Walter knew her advanced acting students were ready to create the depth of emotions to accurately depict the characters. Unfortunately, the relevancy of the struggles faced by people suffering from mental health issues continues today. During the first read through, the students knew that the effort to create their roles would require vigorous rehearsal time, but they all readily agreed it would be worth it. Walter delights in watching her acting students “come out of their shells because they feel respected, appreciated and have a purpose” as they take on challenges that depict societal issues.
Walter adds that the tech students have also stepped up by creating replicas of actual “rehabilitation” devices used in that period, with the unique intertwining of each piece with a musical instrument to replicate sound that would have been heard. Due to the short time frame of the play, the set design and costume design also had to be developed specifically for each character so that any changes in costume or devices could be done without the character actually leaving the stage. Walter admits that “this has been the hardest show I’ve ever directed”.
This week, CHS will first present the One Act play for the community to attend, October 12 to 14. Tickets are $10 at the door.
Additionally, and on a lighter note, those with children may choose to attend an opening One Act presentation which has a much lighter content theme and is family friendly beginning at 7:00 p.m. It's a Wonderful Neverland, gives Peter a chance to see how life would be without his existence, much like the Christmas classic Its a Wonderful Life. The play is a contrast to the much darker second One Act which follows after an intermission, where the central character is forcibly facing what life means without her, similar to another Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol.
In addition to appreciation for parents providing support to their children pursing drama activities, Walter is also grateful to the adult volunteers who have worked tirelessly on the production itself, including Josh Cullen with set design, Betsy Hedger with costume design and Brenton Burgess with acting. Walter also attributes the growth of the program and enthusiasm of her students in large part due to the overwhelming support of her school’s administration, headed by Principal Tim Corrigan.