Needville acting troupe advances to Area competition

Bi-District champion Needville High School Theatre Arts Department One-Act Play cast members are on their way to Area Competition with their production of “Auschwitz Lullaby”. Front row, from left, are Andres Castillo, Amy Schneider, Hattie Smith, Jaela Ketchum, Taylor Amos, Alezandra Espinoza, Paulina Orellana and Keithly Vite; middle row: Jenifer Knezek, Julia Kovar, Tayah Legendre, Maggie Wandell, Rossi Uresti, Zach Marullo, Mason Todd, Leyla Motu, Hunter Dworaczyk, Evalyn Tween and Casey Dworaczyk; and back row: Stephanie Bullock, Amy Yates, Ben Wandell, Sydney Smith, Jilson Gutierrez, Hannah Rader, Jack Basden, Clanzy Poehls, Kaden Green and Layton Meyer.

After being named bi-district champions last week, Needville Theatre Arts Department One-Act Play cast members are headed to Area Competition Saturday at Canyon High School in New Braunfels.

Their production of “Auschwitz Lullaby” by James C. Wall is inspired by inmate diaries that recount actual events of the notorious World War II concentration camp.

Out of all the plays and cast members at the Bi-District Competition at Bay City High School, Zach Marullo won the Best Actor Award, and the entire Needville crew won the Best Technical Crew of the Day Award. In addition, Mason Todd won an All-Star Cast Award, Rossi Uresti won Honorable Mention All-Star Cast, and Leyla Motu won All-Star Crew.

Prior to that, Marullo and Jack Baden each won All-Star Cast awards at District Competition at Brookshire Royal High School, where Uresti also won an Honorable Mention All-Star Cast Award and Paulina Orellana won an All-Star Crew Award.

“I am extremely proud of this group,” said Needville High School Theatre Arts Director Jenifer Knezek.

“They are constantly trying to find ways to improve their performance for each level of competition. Not only do they work hard at our after-school rehearsals, they spend a lot of time on their own researching and studying this play and the characters in it. They are a very determined group of students.”

“Auschwitz Lullaby” tells the story of Jewish pathologist Dr. Isaac Jonah who is interred, along with his wife and daughter, at Auschwitz in 1944, where he is assigned to work in the laboratory of the infamous Dr. Josef Mengle.

Jonah is asked to aid in the escape of a young girl named Lena, who miraculously survived the gassing that killed her entire family.

Jonah must weigh the safety of his own family against the life of the innocent girl he has been sked to help.

His nearly successful attempt leads Jonah to perform the most courageous act of his life as he goes against everything his religion and his medical degree taught him.

Knezek said a date for a local production of the play will be announced once her students complete the competition process.

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