In sports, the word “dynasty” is one of the highest honors a team can be awarded.
It is reserved for those who constantly find themselves competing in championships over a period of about a decade or so. Even if they come up short every few years, as long as they win multiple titles in a short span, they go down in history.
For the Sealy High School Tiger Stage Company, they’ve put together something even more special than a dynasty. Earlier this month, the Stage Company competed in the district competition for the UIL One-Act Play and won the championship. It marked the 32nd straight year the group has brought home the title of district champions.
The team was made up of a group of 22 students who played a part whether it was lighting, putting the stage together or acting in a selected part of a play. Faculty sponsor Erin Moore is in charge of the group and selected one part of a play for the team to perform.
“You have 40 minutes to do a play and usually they run about two hours so you have to do a scene or cutting from the play and if you go over by a second, you’re disqualified so timing is really important,” Moore said. “So you perform in front of a panel of judges and we competed against six other schools and we got all ones from judges so we’re advancing to bi-district.”
Moore said the reason she selected a segment from a longer play rather than a short play is because a short play doesn’t have the depth of character development that succeeds on stage. She also said the most challenging part of choosing what her actors perform is finding something that fits her actors’ ability.
Performing the play goes beyond just the actors. The crew who puts together the stage and is in charge of lighting is made up of five students who have to pass a test of the UIL rules.
“Even that area is competitive and it’s not something that’s casual because the kids really work hard and they have to learn a full booklet of things they have to know,” Moore said. “The state also limits you on the number of pieces you have so we can’t just build the biggest set you want so that’s another challenge to this.”
As for the potential pressure the group feels to carry on the legacy of a streak that is more than twice as old as some of the students working to continue it, Moore said they don’t see it as a burden but rather as a motivator.
“Obviously winning is the ultimate goal and you have to make all the judges happy but in general, my students are pretty competitive so we see the pressure as a positive and use it as something to push us forward,” Moore said. “We talk about how we don’t want to be the group that stops the streak so we use it more than motivation more than anything,”
She said one of the most important factors in the group’s continued success has been pushing the envelope in terms of what plays she selects and the subject the actors touch on in their one-act plays.
“There’s one thing you’ll never hear us say and that’s we just want to do it one way because we never want to settle and we will do whatever it takes and do everything extra and special to that particular performance to make it the best we can,” she said.
Moore, who came in 15 years into the streak, said she is proud of what her students have been able to accomplish and their ability to consistently perform to the best of their ability.
“It gets harder and harder every year and it’s harder to come in as the favorite and so we all deal with that pressure and the funny thing is a lot of people don’t know about it because it’s not as high profile as something about sports,” Moore said. “We make magic on the stage and the other schools around us have improved so we do something new and grow every year and it just makes me really proud every time.”