After a year away from competition, Liberty High School's drama team will board an airplane this summer to share its talents with the country at the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The team secured the opportunity after its one-act performance of "A Little Box of Oblivion" took home the first-place prize at the Maryland Thespian Festival, held Jan. 8 and 9 at Tuscarora High School in Frederick.


According to theater director Christina Hughes, the members of the team took a year to gather themselves when, after the 2014 spring semester, theater director Tony Cimino left Liberty for another position in Loudoun County, Virginia. But Hughes said the group was ready to perform at the Maryland Thespian Festival in 2015.

She said this year the group was excited to be back and the other schools welcomed them with open arms.

"I'm just proud to carry on the Liberty legacy," Hughes said. "There was some anticipation for us coming back, and I think we lived up to it."

The Educational Theatre Association will host the festival June 20 to 25 at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. The event brings together theater students from across the country for a week of workshops, performances and competitions.

The group will perform its award-winning take on "A Little Box of Oblivion" as the Maryland-representative school at the festival.

Junior Wil Clancy said this will be his first time attending the festival. He said he's excited to meet students from across the country and bring their version of the show.

"It's an interesting piece of social commentary wearing the disguise of comedy," Clancy said. "It's big and funny and physical. There's a lot of critique buried in there, though."

In addition to the one-act show performed by the group, several performers will have the opportunity to compete in individual categories, based on their showings at the Maryland festival.

Clancy will join seniors Jordan Spencer and Patrick Owings in an individual one-act category, performing part of the show "The Terrible Infants." Spencer said they are used to doing comedic pieces but they decided to branch out to something more dramatic this year.

Spencer, who has been attending the festival since his sophomore year, said it's bittersweet to know this will be his final time attending.

"A few of us were backstage talking about the people we looked up to during our sophomore year, and now we're playing those kinds of parts," Spencer said. "Now we get to have something ourselves. We get to call it our own."

Senior Jacob Fischer said one of the great things about the festival is the trip itself. The group flies out to Omaha before taking a bus to the campus at Lincoln.

"It's fun. We hang out with friends on the bus and in the plane, then get to meet new people," Fischer said. "It's neat, because you don't normally get to travel with friends."

Fischer will perform monologues from "The Laramie Project," and "The Crowd You're In With," works he's studied before. He said he loves having the opportunity to share his gift with others, and the festival provides a grand stage for that very thing.


Not all of the participants at the festival are performers. Senior Maura Wetzel will be competing in an individual event for stage management. She said that in this group, managers provide a 10-minute presentation of their prompt book, with five minutes for questions from the three judges.

"My prompt book consists of both rehearsal scripts as well as cue scripts for when you need to cue people during the show," Wetzel said. "It also has organizational things like the calendar, attendance sheets and designs. It's basically the show's bible."

Despite the diversity of expertise that brings each student to the national competition, Clancy said their success can be traced to the teachings of Hughes.

"She taught us humility. We weren't going up to perform for ourselves, but we were up there supporting each other and good art," Clancy said. "We put our trust in each other over trust in ourselves, and it turned into a better performance all around."