Marshall High School can now include the Virginia High School League Group AAA state theater title on their list of awards for the fifth time in eight years.
Through the interpretation and presentation of Nikolai Erdman’s “The Mandate,” students were able to place first in all of the Virginia High School League competitions. Some students were additionally recognized for their individual performances: Jonathan Elliot as Pavel, Saleh Karaman as Ivan, Kate Karczewski as Varvara and Julia Weed as Nadejda. “The Mandate” was written in early 1920s about Communist Russia and a case of mistaken identity.
What accounts for Marshall High School’s theatrical success?
“There is a culture here that was developed by the students to do the best that they possibly can. They want to be just as good or better than the students before them,” said drama teacher Mark Krikstan.
Anyone at Marshall is free to join the drama class and be a part of that legacy. “We try and incorporate as many students as we can into the plays, whether it may be technical or a part in the play itself. We also always try to choose plays that no one else is doing and that will move the audience,” added Krikstan.
The Virginia High School League Group AAA theater competitions comprises a total of three competitions. The first competition is held within the district and the top two schools then proceed to compete in the regional competition. At the conclusion of the regional competition the top two schools are sent to compete in the state competition. Marshall High School took home first place in every competition. “Every single member of this cast was phenomenal — what a director’s dream — to have such committed talent,” wrote one of the critic judges, regarding the overall performance.
Marshall High School has previously won the state title in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2005. Several of Marshall’s alumni that participated in the drama department have gone on to pursue drama-related careers. “About six are currently in New York City and one is in Los Angeles. They haven’t made it big just yet but they are definitely pursuing drama as a career,” said Krikstan.
The drama department is currently working on a play called “A Flea in Her Ear,” a comedy about deception, which is set to be presented the first week of May.