Sounds of laughter and the roar of power tools fill the Jean Browne Theater as members of Las Mascaras eagerly begin their semester by building the set for “Henry V.”
Las Mascaras (or as members call it, “Las Mas”) is a theater and speech club that gives both majors and non-majors a chance to learn about the world of stage productions.
“The purpose of Las Mascaras Speech and Drama Club shall be to further the skills and interests of students of Tyler Junior College in the fields of Speech and Dramatic Arts by continuous and active participation in all such areas,” the official Las Mascaras Constitution says.
Stormy Philpot, president of Las Mascaras, is working to make this year more fun and memorable than stress filled by incorporating activities and a family based environment during their work on the set.
“If you have fun working together, your heart will be in your work, and you will do a better job and make great memories,” Philpot said.
Obviously everything is not all fun and games. Hard work is always welcomed and needed at any time.
Jacque Shackelford, professor of Theater and part director and costume designer for the productions, expressed how important it is to keep focused on the goal.
“They have an important role in the organization, they are given responsibilities and a sense of ownership that teaches them to be proactive in order to get things done,” Shackelford said.
The members of Las Mascaras are split up for each production into seven or eight crews. Each crew has a different role that ranges from building sets to acting in the plays. These crews become each other’s families away from home because of the friendships they build while working together.
“By joining Las Mascaras, you will be a part of a family and support system, while gaining more knowledge and appreciation about theater,” Philpot said.
Luckily for all students who are interested in joining, there is no deadline to become a member and participate. Anyone can jump in and help at anytime they decide to become a member.
Members are asked to meet a few basic requirements in order to keep a status of active membership. These requirements include a $10 joining fee, attending all Las Mascaras meetings, and earning 75 points. These points are earned by working on sets and productions. Meetings are on the first and third Wednesdays of the month and members cannot miss more than three to stay active.
“Most crew work is in the afternoons. Just show up and ask to be assigned. No one turns down help here,” Dr. David Crawford, professor of Speech and Theater, said.
This year marks the 83rd year of Las Macaras, making it the oldest student organization at Tyler Junior College. It was founded by French and Spanish Instructor Mildred Howell the same year TJC opened. This semester, Las Mascaras is excited to be assisting with the production of “Henry V,” “Moonlight Serenade,” and a small second stage production.
For more information on joining Las Mascaras contact David Crawford at (903) 510-2678, or Stormy Philpot at (903) 926-8706.