UIL cast, crew tackle one-act play ‘Diviners’


Cara Helton

Senior Cameron Williams helps move set pieces for their UIL show “The Diviners.” The cast placed third in the district competition and advanced for bi-districts on March 23.

Exa Nix, Staff Writer

For weeks, the cast of Diviners has been preparing for their UIL one-act play competition. Plays are required to be under 40 minutes and judges watch, with only the top performances advancing to the next level. The Diviners finished third at districts and will perform at the bi-district competition Thursday.

“The most challenging thing is being consistent in character and having the energy to do all rehearsals and the clinics and competitions,” said senior Sara Snyder. 

Many rules surround each show. In UIL one act, the entire cast has to have 20 people or fewer. The entire set has to be put up in seven minutes and taken down in seven minutes. Each member has to have the script memorized word for word. 

“The hardest part is the commitment,” senior Abigail Hunt said. “It is a competition. It is the one show that you have to be at every rehearsal, you have to be at every competition and you have to give 110% every single time you go on that stage.”

The play Diviners takes place in Zion, Ind., and follows the story of Buddy Layman and his unlikely friend C.C. Showers. The play has a very heavy subject matter and the cast does their best to keep their energy up. They start their rehearsals with warm-ups to prepare them for the day. The cast also does Secret Santa gift exchanges. 

“My favorite part is the relationships with my friends that I’m making,” said sophomore A.J. Smith, who plays Buddy. 

Everyone in the show – from behind the stage to the front – supports one another right up to the day of the competitions. The actors each find unique ways to best channel their characters on performance days. 

“To prepare for UIL I kinda shut down as a person,” Snyder said. “I get in the zone. I have a playlist curated for my character so that I’m mentally ready for things like competitions.”

This is the first UIL competition for new directors Christopher Turner and Courtney Neuwirth. For seniors, this is their last chance to compete to compete and they hope to advance past bi-district for the first time.

“This is my fourth year doing high school UIL,” said senior Cameron Williams. “Onstage is probably the easiest part of the performance. At that point, you’re running off things you already know. It’s a lot of muscle memory. It’s the nerves leading up to it (that are tough).”