This year, the PG Players are putting on their version of “Us & Them” for the upcoming Virginia Theater Association Play Festival. Here, students from all around the state come together in a conference and competition setting.

Senior Sarah Brown and junior Sam Preece are part of the cast and they are excited to be apart of this year’s event.

“We’re all really excited, we have a really great cast,” Preece said. “I’m sure people are nervous but we’re all really excited for the most part.”

Sarah describes VTA as more than a “winner takes all” type of competition.

“It’s not just a competition, it’s a convention where you can take master classes from people who do it for a living,” Brown said.

As for the competition side, it breaks down like any other, with some minor changes.

“There are three judges, and they judge it on your own play, not compared to others,” Brown said.

PG Players have always loved performing for their peers.

“Performing in school is always fun because our peers get to see what we worked hard to put on,” Brown said.
It seems the response is also what is on the cast’s mind going in.

“I’m excited to be apart of the competition show, since this is my first one,” Preece said. “We have a really good cast, so I’m excited to be the critique.”

It seems new faces is a common theme for this year’s group, as there is a new young face among them.
Sophomore Michaela Stawarz is ecstatic to show everyone what she can do onstage.

“I feel like I have to be really good so that they don’t regret it,” Stawarz said.

Stawarz was received by warm and welcoming faces when she first walked in.

“We were all friends before this, so it was a really nice environment,” Stawarz said.

The cast shares their excitement with their teacher Daryl Phillips, who enjoys watching his students develop their skills.

“[The production] gives more advanced students the chance to see the next level,” Phillips said. “It gives them a glimpse into the world outside of high school.”

Daryl says that “Us & Them” is a fun production; everyone’s specific role adds to the intrigue.

“I am the peacekeeper,” Brown said. “In the play they build a wall, and nobody trusts what goes on the other side, so I try and keep the peace.”

Stawarz is the “voice” of the production. She helps in keeping the story flowing smoothly.

“I’m the recorder,” Stawarz said. “I take stuff down for history but it’s kind of a narrator.”

Sam’s role adds to the conflict of the entire play,

“I’m playing spokesperson A, I’m kind of the leader of Tribe A,” Preece said. “I’m easily convinced that the B Tribe is evil.”

Flaws in her character aid to her tribe’s eventual defeat.

“My character’s gullibility is my downfall because it plays to the other character’s strengths,” Preece said.
As for Phillips, he enjoys the journey more than the destination.

“I’m most excited about making this trip with the students,” Phillips said.

The process for picking the cast was tough, but he feels accomplished with his selection.

“The thing that is most common about this cast is experience and commitment,” Phillips said. “The difficulty is the short rehearsal time, which is why I Went with those most committed and experienced.”