Confederate Letters was Texan Barre Gonzalez’s first attempt at play writing. He was so successful with its first year of production in the state University Interscholastic League (UIL) One-Act competition that he returned to the writing desk to repeat with scripts that are equally as great. Confederate Letters earned Mr. Gonzalez the Texas playwright award for UIL in 1998. Based on the recognition, he has been in conversation with the executive producer of HBO about his script “Corfu By Night.”

Mr. Gonzalez’s scripts involve drama — intense audience emotion results from his desires topics of war, loss of loved ones, and internal strife. “Watching my scripts come to life through a director’s vision and a cast’s character development is a great joy,” states the playwright. “It is a phenomenal experience to see their acting passion and interpretation of my work on the stage. Every cast performs the show with different intensity and thought.”

A teacher in the McKinney ISD system, Mr. Gonzalez has used his scripts for his own One-Act students. “That’s what prompted me to start writing — I couldn’t find a script I liked for the students I had one year. Their talents just wouldn’t be showcased in the scripts that were normally available for the statewide competition. I took a risk, and wrote one for them. That year, my students won the state UIL One-Act Play contest!” Confederate Letters has since been performed at the state competition four times, and one cast is performing the show at this year’s state competition. He further states, “one year I had three of my plays at the state contest and my students were almost beaten by another school doing one of my scripts. It was an incredible experience.”

Willow Park Dinner Players presents Confederate Letters on Saturday, May 13. The show will be presented in a dinner theater format at Jubilee Trailhouse Banquet Hall (4971 East IH-20 Service Road North, Willow Park). The evening begins with entertainment when the doors open at 6:30 p.m. Buffet dinner will be served at 7 p.m., and the production is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Seating is limited, and advance reservations are suggested. Tickets are available for $25 per person by contacting the Weatherford Stage Performers hotline at (817) 594-5596 or e-mail (ActII@charter.net).

The show will be performed by members of the Peaster High School One-Act Program. Cast members include the “Havard family” – Nathan Vick as “Jesse,” Keah Kenney as “Mrs. Havard,” Austin Patterson as “Mr. Havard,” Tyler French as “Ben,” and Casey Sims as “Nell.” Also, Meagan Sims as “Sarah Russell,” Josh Plumlee as “Mr. Russell” and “Cap’n,” and Cassie French as “Ruth.” Additionally, Nathan Kirk as “Turner,” Allen Dean as “Preacher,” Becky Diamond as “Miss Parsons,” and Ashley Millett as “Nurse.” Cast as “School Children, Soldiers, and Townspeople” are Elizabeth Berry, Katie Dean, Jordan Duncan, Tyler French, Gumarro Gonzalez, Justis Morgan, Calee Renick, and Olivia Williams. Additional members of the company are Rachel Burress, Nathan Burress, Gumarro Gonzalez, Chris Schofield, and Darrah Stripling. Crew for the show include Aisha Abdullah, Rachel Burress, Julie Norris, Katie Dean, and Jamie Dean.

“My students performed another of Mr. Gonzalez’s scripts during last year’s One-Act Compeition,” states show director and Weatherford Stage Performers Board President Lisa Cockerell. “We had such great success last year that we wanted to perform another of his works. His characters have such energy and emotion — it’s hard not to enjoy his scripts.” Ms. Cockerell is the director of the PHS One-Act Program. She is assisted by Mary Hill.

Confederate Letters is produced by special arrangement with the playwright. Willow Park Dinner Players and Act II are members of Weatherford Stage Performers, a 501(c)3 organization.

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