For many years Lafayette High School’s Theatre Department has sent both a Reader’s Theatre and a One Acts to district competition in hopes of championship gold. Only twice have they placed and advanced to state. This year Lafayette looked to taste that district plaque again as they loaded up their russian pistols in the infamous and always controversial play “The Balkan Women.”
As previously stated in the paragraph above Lafayette has advanced only twice. However on March 15th of this month, the Fighting Irish’s theatre department has added yet another district championship to their much impressive four year reign. Lafayette has sent four plays in the recent years and three of those four have advanced to the big dance. This year’s play felt different though. The electricity in the air, the silence, the feeling of shock and awe waving through the Liberty North Auditorium. It was truly a magical moment.
Now to every great victory there’s almost always a great story behind it. This is the story of the hard work, dedication, and commitment that nearly 20 Irish students placed into one of, if not the, best production Lafayette High School has ever performed for districts.
The five lead roles include Samantha Simmons as Amina Jusic, Kyrsten Neverdusky as Samira Jusic, Kiefer Huff as Lieutenant Jovan Vlaco, Alaesha Nance Wilkinson as Jela Kajano, and Colten Locke as Colonel Branislav Herak. These five key players have truly added an extraordinary experience that has truly brought this play to life. Samantha Simmon’s character “Amina Jusic” is a Muslim mother captured with her 19 year old daughter Samira Jusic when a Siberian fuel depot explodes killing 16 soldiers. Lieutenant Jovan Vlaco is placed in charge of interrogating the Jusic women. Amina Jusic is saved by a blast from her past when Colonel Herak shows up to the camp to be its new commandant, creating controversy for all.
As you see it’s an exciting thrill ride that Lafayette has worked long and hard to give it the glory it deserves. One of the play’s focal points are on their minor roles as well. A member of the siberian guards James Henderson III sat down and shared his thoughts. “There’s a lot of pressure going into this competition, we have been there two times in three years and have never broken into the State Finals. We definitely have big shoes to fill. By far this has been my favorite fine arts performance in all my years at Lafayette.” When asked what he brought to the performance James added, “I would like to think I bring that certain element of fear, that feeling that will keep the audience on edge.”
Now with any production a set can add or take away from a performance. Lafayette Senior Andrew Murphy was in control of building nearly all of the set. When asked about his work Andrew stated, “My main goal was to create something special that not only helped the actors but made everything simple. The chainlink fence added that spooky feeling with the girls huddled together clutching the fence in fear. The guards standing tall on the tower clutching a tight grip on their rifle. It truly adds to the show something the play couldn’t go without.”
So with tons of pressure and huge amounts of talent Lafayette looks to load their guns for what could be their final big show.