DECATUR, FEBRUARY 25, 2024 – Decatur High School will experience a ‘first’ on March 1st, as the UIL One-Act Play company will be the first in Texas to perform Sean Grennan’s newest play, “A Rock Sails By”. 

“We are the fifth production of the show, the first by a high school, and the first in Texas,” states Rebecca Phillips, director of theatre at DHS. “The world premiere was with the Peninsula Players in Wisconsin this past summer with rave reviews.” This production is less than half of the original script, as it has to be cut down to perform within the 18-40 minute time limit for UIL.

The high school theatre director believes “the One-Act Play competition can be a crapshoot, so it's more about the process, growth and journey than it is about winning,” states Phillips. “This is the only UIL competition that is completely subjective. Everything has to hit at the same time: the story, the acting, the tech, the judges, the audience, and the moments for the show to advance to the next level. Our goal is to focus on telling the story, and give a performance that people will remember.” 

This is not your typical, ‘High school play,’ as Phillips explains, “this one will reach inside your chest, grab your heart and make you feel”. Phillips elaborated, “There was a day in rehearsal, when everything shifted. The students felt it. I stopped what we were doing and said something to the effect of, ‘this is no longer about a competition. This goes so much deeper than that. We have been blessed with a story that needs to be shared, that needs to be heard.’”

Phillips’s goal as a One-Act Play director is to have production worthy of State, regardless if they get there or not. “This is that show. It fits us,” Phillips said. “If we can get to Austin this spring, it means more people will experience the gift we have been blessed to give, the one that Mr. Grennan has given all of us to share.” Decatur won the 3A OAP contest in 2006, and qualified for State in 2008, 2009 and 2011 under the direction of Lance Morse.  

So, what’s the show about? Dr. Lynn Cummings, an astrophysicist played by senior Rylie Wilson, tries to bring science and faith into balance while grappling with personal questions and issues. When an unidentified object is discovered heading toward Earth, a less-than-reputable online magazine writer, played by junior Carter Siddoway, misquotes her, casting doubt on her credibility. Dr. Cummings hopes to witness nothing remarkable and thus save her reputation, but there is no telling what she will discover beyond the stars.

Chris Yurasek from DHS and McCarroll Middle School Theatre director Karen Hughes assists with the show and soon Jacob Wells from DHS will be joining them. Hughes states, “As someone who has lost three family members to dementia and Alzheimer's, this story is incredibly personal to me. Each rehearsal has tapped a memory, and leaves me wondering about my own future and my legacy. The DHS company is doing a phenomenal job in accessing emotions beyond their years. I'm constantly in awe of what Ms. Phillips is able to bring out of her students.”

Decatur High School will present A Rock Sails By. for the public on Friday, March 1st at 6PM at Decatur High School. Admission is by donation. Checks are accepted (DHS- Theatre Arts) There are no reserved seats. For more information please call/email Rebecca Phillips at 

Contact: Rebecca Phillips,