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One-act play headed to state (video)

By Carolina Astrain
May 17, 2013 at 12:17 a.m.

Colleen Fellers, left, threatens Ashley Patillo, right, with a giant pair of scissors as Ashley hides behind Matthew Bellanger as they perform a scene from the play "Mariner" on Thursday at Industrial High School. Members of the cast changed roles several times to portray the many characters in the one-act play.

VANDERBILT - An insight into what Christopher Columbus experienced in his journey to the new world could mean gold for some area students.

The Industrial High School one-act play cast will perform the play "Mariner" at the state meet Tuesday in Austin. The state meet starts Monday.

"It's a nightmare. It happens in Christopher Columbus' mind and his journal," said senior Matthew Bellanger.

The play is a history lesson and an acting challenge and marks the eighth time the school has performed at the state UIL competition.

The 45-minute "Mariner" follows the misadventures of Christopher Columbus and the guilt the character undergoes after completing his voyages and conquests of the New World.

Mike Doggett has served as the high school's theater director since 2004.

Doggett said it's tough to get to state because of the subjective nature of the judging.

"A great play will sometimes not advance because of the subjectivity a judge can have on a certain subject," Doggett said.

The school has never placed in the top three at state, but Doggett believes it has a good chance this year.

The strong cast is part of his reason for believing the ensemble could place at state.

Princess Juana, daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, is portrayed by sophomore Colleen Fellers.

"This play has been a challenge - not really a bad one but a good one. We've all kind of learned how to develop characters better," Colleen said.

Doggett said he chose "Mariner" for the competition because of the playful, historical nature of the script.

"It's a play that can make people laugh, cry and think," Doggett said. "And the students get to sink their teeth into historical figures that actually existed."

Matthew, 17, who plays Columbus, said the themes of Catholicism and purgatory resonated strongly with him because of his recent confirmation at his Catholic church.

"I definitely feel the emotion of having my life on the line," Matthew said. "It's something you don't get to feel very often."

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