Theater’s ‘The Captain of the Bible Quiz Team’ places first in district VHSL competition

On Jan. 22, the theater department performed in the annual VHSL One-Acts competition under a new name: the “Bible Quiz Team.”

“[‘The Captain of the Bible Quiz Team’] is basically a one-person show, a 34-minute monologue with some minor characters interacting,” theater director Bernie DeLeo said. “The one person carrying the load as the young pastor, Luke Batarseh, is phenomenal.”

This one-person show consists of Batarseh, a senior, as Pastor Landry Sorensen on stage and a number of others spread out through the audience interacting and chiming in at times.

“Being able to engage the audience in the performance is so exciting,” Batarseh said.

Batarseh said the heavy reliance on him as the lead actor brought new challenges.

“Even the prospect of performing an entire play almost by myself is super intimidating just for memorization and fatigue on stage,” he said. “Despite the challenge, I have had a much deeper connection to the script and character that I play than I have ever had before.”

Statesmen Theatre won first place in the district round and will move on to the regional round with Batarseh winning best actor.

“It is so delightful to have all of the hard work with the show pay off and to get recognized for it,” Batarseh said. “I was never really looking for a victory so much as just enjoying my time on stage, but the affirmation from the judges is nonetheless amazing.”

Although Marshall has hosted for over 10 years, and won the district, regional and state rounds in the past, this year was the first with new COVID regulations in place.

“Usually anyone can watch the entire festival all day,” DeLeo said. “But due to the spiking Omicron variant, only family members could come watch each play and each school left after they performed.”

These regulations restricted each school’s ability to watch their opponents perform, and students from watching their own school compete.

“I hope that we can perform the show at some point in the future where friends and other people from around the school can come see the show,” Batarseh said.

Batarseh and the cast will look to continue the theatre department’s winning ways in February’s regional competition.