Tusky Theater for Second Place in VHSL Competition

Tuscarora’s theater moves onto the regional level after their performance of We Are the Sea.


Leesburg, VA – At 10:30, members of the theater group that represents Tuscarora High school stepped on Woodgrove’s stage to begin a breathtaking performance of Laura Lungren Smith’s one act play: We Are the Sea. Little did they know that their brilliant execution of the script would land them in second place out of seven competing schools.

“Afterwards, we were sure that we had done a good job, but we weren’t sure how we would do,” Alyce Snead, a sophomore and ensemble member, continues, “…Loudoun County had a very strong show.”

Results were announced, revealing that Rock Ridge placed first and Tuscarora, second. Amira Noutcha, also a sophomore at Tuscarora and an ensemble member of the play, says, “I literally burst into tears when I heard. I thought we did decent but apparently we did amazing!”

On top of the team’s second place award, many of the cast members received individual titles. Madison Peshoff, Rachel Geissmann, and Ava Peach, the students who were the three Irish women, all got honorable mentions for best actor. Michael Anthony, who played the sailor, got second place for best actor.

Tuscarora will be moving on to the regional competition next, which will include schools from Fairfax, Winchester, and possibly Arlington. “Seeing as this is a Northern Virginia competition, there are going to be a lot of strong schools from other counties,” Snead comments. “With two weeks to improve our show, I’m sure that we will do well. Maybe not top two… but I’m sure we will do very well for ourselves.”

Virginia High School League (VHSL) offers opportunities for high schools to depict one act plays. For the district competition, which includes schools in Loudoun County, the two top performing schools are chosen to move on to the next level, the regional competition. Last year, Tuscarora High School performed Us and Them. Out of the five schools competing that year, Tuscarora ranked third.

Tuscarora’s play choice this year, We Are the Sea, is a short tale about three Irish women escaping the potato famine that is ravaging their home country. In an attempt to flee, they sail to America on boats known as the Death Ships. 

Snead informs, “…their story is witnessed as they tell their story to the sea, which is a conscientious group of waves.” Hence, We Are the Sea.

Snead was one of the tides in the sea ensemble and has been in theater ever since she was part of the ensemble of Hairspray in sixth grade. “I chose theater because I just really like the sense of community that it creates within your ensemble and cast,” she says. 

Relating this to the We Are The Sea performance, Snead explained, “Before we stepped on stage there was both a feeling of nervousness and also of hyping each other up. We were all encouraging each other… ‘You guys can do it!’ ‘We can do it!’”