Efforts to contact the ensemble’s director, Shane Burke, for comment on Tuesday were unsuccessful, but last week he said he and his students decided early in this school year not to focus on the string of state titles.
A string of three straight state championships “is probably singlehandedly what built our program over the last three years, is our success,” Burke said prior to heading for Charlottesville in pursuit, nonetheless, of title No. 4.
“But from the beginning this year, all the talk was about something other than winning. So our focus was on our play and our story and doing the best we can.”
Eastside’s best is obviously the best in state, once again, in the Virginia High School League’s 1-A classification.
The team’s drama, “The Spirit of Life,” by David F. Eliet and Yaffa Eliach, presents the story of a group of Hasidic Jews caught up in the Holocaust.
Eastside’s Kailey Kyle, Sarah Burke and Elizabeth Mann also won three of the four best actor/actress awards.
Another Wise County ensemble — Central High School’s one act team — was also seeking multiple consecutive championships but this year placed runner-up in the 2-A classification, still quite an achievement in itself.