Leigh

Cast and crew members from the Leigh Community Schools one-act team pose for a photo. The school won the Class D-2 state play production title Wednesday in Norfolk with its performance of "Shrek."

Courtesy photo

NORFOLK — A successful run continued this week for the Leigh Community Schools one-act team.

For the second time in three years, the school captured the Class D-2 state play production title.

The team of 47 students claimed the championship Wednesday by outperforming five other schools that also took the stage at Norfolk's Johnny Carson Theatre.

Leigh scored 179 points, besting second-place Loomis by four points.

Nearly every Leigh high schooler was part of the team, either as a cast or crew member, during the performance of "Shrek."

This is the fourth year in a row Leigh has qualified for state under the direction of Justine Fischer, who helped restart the school's one-act program.

She said the tricky part about this year’s performance was putting their own spin on "Shrek" without veering too far from a story that's familiar to the audience.

“We always work really, really hard. They always scare me every year and I say, ‘It won’t come together. It won’t come together,’” said Fischer.

She said the students are more laid-back than she is and confident in their abilities.

Three Leigh students stood out to the judges as finalists for state acting awards.

Senior Haden Held and juniors Holly Kuhr and Cort Pokorney were up for the honors, with Pokorney named outstanding male performer for his role as Donkey.

He said he enjoyed the comedic role.

“It’s fun to get more of the laughs after you say your lines,” he said.

Pokorney also won the acting award in 2015 when the school claimed the state title with “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some).” Leigh was state runner-up last year and third in 2014.

That history of success has inspired the students.

“One-act is becoming a pretty big deal in our school,” Pokorney said.

Fischer came to Leigh, her alma mater, after teaching in Creighton and Columbus. She was the speech coach at Creighton, but had no experience with one-act performances.

Since she took over the Leigh one-act team, most of the student body has been part of the productions.

This year, Fischer said she read a bunch of plays before choosing “Shrek" because students prefer plays with humor. A comedy also fit the cast members' skills, she said.

Even though making state is a goal, the team members don't want to put too much pressure on themselves. Instead, they focus on the experience.

“The main goal is to have fun. One of the things Mrs. Fischer says is we don’t have to be the best, we just have to be our best,” Pokorney said.

Humphrey St. Francis finished third in Class D-1 with its performance of "Two Fronts" and Cross County was third in Class C-2 with "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

David City competes Friday in Class B.

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