The Engine That Became The Future


Estevan Rivera

T-shirt design for UIL One Act Play for the 2022 school year.

Mariah Martinez

The Northbrook High School Theater Department took center stage this week, participating in the UIL District Contest performing their show “Ada and The Engine.”

“Ada and The Engine” time-travels the audience to early 19th-century England to introduce the brilliant Ada Byron Lovelace (Mayra Ceron), the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron. Her mother, Lady Anabella Byron (Shania Echaverry), is determined that her daughter live out of the influence of the libertine Byron, so she has Ada learn mathematics and music. Ada is obsessed with her father and finds the connections of mathematical logarithms and poetry in music. She meets Charles Babbage (Emanuel Morfin), a mathematical genius and inventor. They form an intellectual connection and possibly more. Lady Byron dislikes the friendship and steers Ada into marriage with the uninspiring Lord Lovelace (Bradlee Smithers). Ada manages her family and husband while finding time for scientific collaboration with Babbage, including the conceptual framework of the first computer. Ada and the Engine will enlighten and surprise with the dazzle of science and passion.

“Being able to be a part of the UIL One-Act was a great experience. Being able to prove that our department is growing and that we are as talented as any other school is amazing. Money does not define our program,” told Shania Echaverry.

“Ada and The Engine” placed 4th out of 8 schools and earned alternate to bi-district! The Polaris Theater Department placed 4th and beat all THREE other Spring Branch ISD High Schools and one Cy-Fair High School, which include Stratford High School, Memorial High School, our neighbor school Spring Woods and Jersey Village High School.

“Beating Memorial, Spring Woods, and most impressively Stratford displays how our department has completed a 180 in terms of success. From last place four years ago to being the best school in Spring Branch. This is only the beginning for this theater department. The future is gushing with potential,” said Emanuel Morfin.

Emanuel Morfin, Anthony Duarte, and Mayra Ceron proudly display their UIL medals after winning individual awards on March 2nd at the Berry Center.

Several students won individual awards at the competition. Senior Anthony Duarte was named Outstanding Technician, senior Mayra Ceron was named to the All-Star Cast, and senior Emanuel Morfin received an All-Star Cast Honorable Mention.

Actors and tech serve essential purposes in the overall production. “Being a part of the crew, the time limit was very stressful with the complex set design we used. During the competition, we were under the average time we usually took to set and strike,” said Evan Dam when asked what was most stressful about UIL One-Act but “overall the experience was fun and stressful.”

“UIL has been such a great experience from meeting new friends and experiencing new things. The bonds we have all created are ADA-stonishing,” said Carlynda Lam.

Costumes and makeup allow the audience insight into a character. Depending upon the part, the costume, hair, and makeup may uncover truths or hide secrets. “I am grateful for the chance to be a part of something grand. I am extremely proud of all my friends and thankful for the mentors that helped shape us to reach success,” said Arely Guzman, hair and makeup director.

“Being a part of UIL this year has been such a great and emotional experience. It was most definitely worth all the missed days and assignments.” Bradlee Smithers exclaimed when asked what the bittersweet time of UIL was.

Stage managers ensure that theatrical performances run smoothly and to schedule. They organize all practical and technical aspects of rehearsals and shows and ensure that performers and crew are in the right place at the right time. Allyson Verduzco was incredibly thankful for the position as stage manager and the opportunities offered to her. “These past two years being a part of the theater company and competing in UIL has changed my life. I have made friendships with the most amazing, trustworthy, crazy, and magnificent people. UIL has taught me that there is always room to improve. We have jumped up two places since last year, thanks to our wonderful director, Mr. Rivera.”

As the primary visionary and unifying force behind a theatrical production, the director is responsible for shaping every aspect of the final performance—from the actors’ performances to the setting and design choices. Estevan Rivera cares for his students as they are his own children. He makes sure to include actors and techs in every rehearsal, warm-up, game, and field trip. Estevan has shaped the lives of many and have driven students to exceed in higher levels.

UIL Theater Director Estevan Rivera said, “I am incredibly proud of the hard work, determination, and dedication this group of students have put into this production. They worked long hours and many weekends together to make this show come to life and it really shows. We were the highest ranked show in Spring Branch and we are so amazed at the progress we have made! Congrats UIL OAP ‘22 Cast and Crew!”

Theater Director Estevan Rivera takes an All-Cast selfie before going on stage for their UIL One Act Play competition.

This past trip has shown everyone who rooted against The Northbrook High School Theater Department that it is a highly talented group. This season could not end any better, but it is not entirely over yet. Drama students from Northbrook High School will be performing their One-Act play, “Ada and The Engine,” at 7:30 p.m., both Friday and Saturday night.