The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Sparks fly for cast of The Miss Firecracker Contest

By Edna Horton/nw news editor

Carnelle is a young woman trying to escape her small town by winning a beauty contest.

Her story is the basis of The Miss Firecracker Contest, the newest production by Theater Northwest directed by drama instructor Brent Alford.

The Miss Firecracker Contest by Beth Henley follows Carnelle as she tries to improve her life and get out of her small Mississippi town.

NW student Katie Hill plays the lead character. She has performed in several plays before, but this is her first college production. She said she is excited because she gets to dye her hair a bright crimson red.

Alford asked Hill if she would mind dyeing her hair for the play.

“I’m like, ‘No, I wouldn’t mind not at all. I’ve never dyed my hair or anything. I’d be totally willing to do that,’” she said.

Hill is also from a small town, so she said she can relate to her character’s wanting to break free, try new things and see new places.

“I do relate to her somehow, only to the wanting to get out and explore new things, and just, you know, trying to get away from the normal,” she said. “She is very determined, and I can understand her passion to just do it.”

Carnelle has two friends, Popeye Jackson and Mac Sam, who bond with her and enjoy seeing her succeed. 

Tom Wood plays Mac Sam, a carnival worker who is slowly dying. Wood said Mac has come to terms with his prognosis and is just along for the ride.

“He’s pretty charismatic for a guy who’s dying,” Wood said. “He’s got a lust for life. He also brings comic relief to the play.”

Lauren Devoll plays Popeye Jackson, Carnelle’s best friend and seamstress. Devoll said the two characters bond at the beginning of the show, and Popeye is content in her place in Carnelle’s life.

“As long as she is Carnelle’s seamstress, oh, that is the best thing in the world,” she said.

Elain Rutledge, Carnelle’s cousin and former “Miss Firecracker,” is not supportive of Carnelle because Elain does not want to be dethroned.

“The Miss Firecracker contest was like her baby, her thing,” said Abigail Herring who plays Elain. “So having her cousin, you know, who wants that is kind of like, ‘This is my thing. Step off.’”

Justin Rhoads plays Delmount, who is Carnelle’s cousin and Popeye’s love interest. He has had a sort of checkered past which included a romantic relationship with the director of the pageant Tessy Mahoney.

Renee Barham plays Tessy. Barham said she likes Tessy because of the way she stands up for herself in the end.

“She is a very vulnerable character,” she said. “She makes herself vulnerable, and then when she does get crushed, she still stands up for herself.”

Marshell Phillips, stage manager and NW student, said people should come to see the play because it may have a bittersweet ending, but the audience won’t know what to expect.

“It is a very honest, very witty show, and you learn a lot from it,” she said. “You learn that life goes on.”

The Miss Firecracker Contest runs Oct. 7-11. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are free for TCC students, faculty and staff, $6 for general admission and $3 for seniors and non-TCC students.

For more information, contact the box office at 817-515-7724.

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