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PCHS drama students perform this weekend in WCU competition

Some 300 students from the mountains and piedmont of North Carolina will be judged on their theatrical skills as Western Carolina University hosts a western regional competition of the North Carolina Theatre Conferences High School Play Festival on Friday and Saturday, November 6 and 7.

Student teams representing 11 high schools, including Polk County High School, will have 45 minutes to get set up on the stage in WCUs Fine and Performing Arts Center, present their plays, and get off the stage. The teams can present either one or two plays over the two-day festival. It is a very fast-paced and intense two days of competition, said Peter Savage, acting instructor in WCUs department of stage and screen, and coordinator for the event.

Two adjudicators will watch each play and judge the performance aspects of the productions, giving particular attention to the quality of the acting and directing. A variety of awards, including two Distinguished Play Awards, will be presented during a ceremony at 8 p.m. Nov. 7.

School teams that capture Distinguished Play Awards will be invited to compete in the 2009 NCTC State High School Play Festival, which will be held at Greensboro College on Thursday and Friday, November 19 and 20.

Polk County will be presenting The Terezin Promise at 11 a.m. on Friday, November 6. The Terezin Promise is a play based on a true story. Between the years 1941 – 1945, over 15,000 children passed through the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. Their experiences were recorded in thousands of poems and drawings that were kept hidden by the teachers in the camp.

Toward the end of the war and just before the liberation of Terezin, Raja Englanderova, a teenage survivor, discovered hundreds of these works hidden in two suitcases in the attic of their barracks classroom and took them to Jewish officials in Prague.

Today, these drawings and poems belong to the Jewish Museum in Prague and have been exhibited around the world. A few pieces are currently on loan at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

The play is based around Englanderovas promise to save the drawings and poems and take them safely to Prague and the conflict and struggle that ensues in keeping her promise.