North Platte High School’s 44-member play troupe won the top award Thursday at a One-Act festival with their presentation of Quasimodo.

The Bulldog players presented the story of the Hunchback of Notre Dame at the festival to best seven other schools in the festival, which was held in Cozad.

Speech and theatre teacher David Cooper directed the play, which was written by Tim Kelly.

Kaden Griesfeller delivered in his role as the Hunchback and Nirvana Mendoza played the part of Esmeralda with passion.

The play kept the audience mesmerized, as Quasimodo rescues Esmeralda only to see her die in his arms.

Cooper said the cast practiced for 15 days.

“This is only their second performance and they did a great job,” he said. “We travel to Kearney tomorrow (Friday) and then will perform again at North Platte on Saturday.”

Cooper said his actors work hard and performs throughout the season.

A backstage crew of 11 helped with costumes and make up.

Hershey was the other Lincoln County school at the festival.

Director Tyler Cronin was pleased with the 16-member cast’s rendition of the comical Show and Spell, written by Julia Brownwell.

“I got a little emotional watching it up in the sound booth,” he said, “getting to see them perform for the first time in front of someone besides me.”

The story is about five students as they practice and compete in a spelling bee. A cheerleader who enjoys chanting her spelling words wins, eliminating the drama queen daughter of an actress, a spoiled rich girl and an all-sport jock.

In the final round, she upsets a “Brainiac” who never lost an educational contest before.

Talyah Linstrom played the part of the movie star mother and kept the audience laughing. Sam Mackley was the brainy nerd.

Cronin said his actors began practicing Oct. 1. An algebra teacher by trade, this is Cronin’s first involvement with high school one-act programs. The actors are backed by a 15-member back stage crew.

Cronin said winning awards is secondary to what he wants to accomplish with the Hershey team.

“My goal is for the kids to do something that makes them proud of what they accomplished,” he said. “If we happen to win some competitions while we are doing that, it will be great. We will perform again Tuesday at Gothenburg. The kids do a great job and I expect they will improve each time.”

In addition to North Platte and Hershey, teams from Cozad, Elba, Eustis-Farnam, Loomis, McCook and South Platte performed.