WCJC Drama students garner festival awards

‘Fortinbras’ production receives Superior rating

WCJC Drama Department students perform a scene from Fortinbras. Association’s Pictured, foreground, left to right, are Bryson Baugus, David Hiebert, Isabella Nidever and David Hesse.  Pictured in the background, left to right, are Whitney McClendon, Jaime Gonzales and John Ramirez.

WCJC Drama Department students perform a scene from Fortinbras. Association’s Pictured, foreground, left to right, are Bryson Baugus, David Hiebert, Isabella Nidever and David Hesse.  Pictured in the background, left to right, are Whitney McClendon, Jaime Gonzales and John Ramirez.

The third time was a charm for Wharton County Junior College drama students as they once again took top awards at the recent Texas Community College Speech and Theatre Association’s Theatre Festival.

Held at Blinn College in Brenham, the annual event showcases the talents of drama students from around the state. Thirteen colleges attended this year’s festival, held Feb. 26 to March 1.

For the third year in a row, WCJC’s production earned a Superior rating. WCJC Instructor of Theatre Greg McLarty said such recognition validates the college’s drama program.

“The students are taking what they’ve learned and putting it to work on the production and getting that validated by someone other than me,” he said. “It shows they’re doing good work.”

For the festival McLarty chose Fortinbras, a play that picks up where Shakespeare’s Hamlet left off. McLarty said it’s a unique story, one that features the ghosts of famous Hamlet characters.   

“It’s a fun little show,” he said.

The play also features a heavily male cast, something that worked seamlessly with WCJC’s current crop of student actors. 

“We had more men this year,” McLarty said, noting that he had to convince one of his female actors to play a male role. 

Students took home a host of awards, both in the Respondent’s Choice and Director’s Choice categories. These include:

Respondent’s Choice

• Nathan Grumbles of Needville – Superior Award for Acting
• David Hiebert of Rosenberg – Superior Award for Acting
• Katelyn Wood of El Campo – Superior Award for Acting
• Bryson Baugus of Richmond – Excellent Award for Acting
• Leofrice Tilley of Cuero – Excellent Award for Acting
• Dylan Callies of Beasley – Excellent Award for Acting
• Jaime Gonzales of Rosenberg – Excellent Award for Acting
• Whitney McClendon of Wharton – Excellent Award for Acting
• Victoria Brun of Richmond – Excellent Award for Costume Design
• Greg McLarty, Drama/Theatre Instructor – Excellent Award for Set and Light Design

Director’s Choice

• Victoria Brun of Richmond – Superior Award in Costume Design
• Troy Hausler of Rosenberg – Superior in Stage Management
• Whitney McClendon of Wharton – Excellent in Makeup Design

McLarty said he was not expecting the awards for set and lighting. That his students earned honors, though, was hardly a surprise.

“We’ve got a good core group of kids,” he said.

The WCJC drama students will next present the “Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon” as part of their children’s show, which is the department’s annual fundraiser. Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 1-3 at the Horton Foote Theatre in the Duson-Hansen Fine Arts Building of the Wharton campus, 911 Boling Highway. The performance is open to the public and ticket prices will be announced at a later date. 

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