Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Festival News & Notes # 11--Report about the Thespian Festival

I had hoped to give minute-by-minute reporting from the Thespian Festival. Two things interfered. 1--I was busy! and 2--I never managed to get on-line from my own computer (where I have been uploading the photos).

So here is a belated report--appropriately long and detailed! Of course, there are many more details, and I'm sure there are more photos and video of events from the 2009 TWPI team. (E-mail me and I'll post them here!)

But for now--this will have to do!

Wow! 19 students and 8 adults formed the 2009 team for Thespians of the Western Pacific Islands. All arrived in Lincoln, Nebraska on Saturday, June 20, 2009, and stayed at the Comfort Inn. We checked out on Monday morning, June 22.

2009 TWPI team

TWPI advisors & chaperones.

The TWPI students spent the weekend recovering from jet lag, rehearsing for their individual events, and getting acclimated to their surroundings. The adults worked on scheduling and dealing with the myriad of small issues that traveling with so many students entails. Despite the heat (it was so hot even our tropical island kids were complaining), we managed to get in some shopping and a Sunday visit to the Lincoln Zoo.

Zoo entrance.

White peacock.

Mr. Easton and Mrs. Miura.

Monday, June 22: We moved into the dorms at the University of Lincoln on Monday: the girls moved into Schramm hall and the boys into Pound. Everybody got their "badge" (a pouch hanging on a long string that had to be worn as a necklace)and key card. The high school juniors registered for college auditions, and then Monday afternoon, we started going our own ways, exploring the campus and finding our ways around.

Students were encouraged (um, mandated?) to attend a workshop. I went to the "Drawing for beginning costume designers" one with Terry McMonigle. It was good, and very well attended, with some of the TWPI students in there, too.

In the evening, some of us went to the THESPIANS: THE MOVIE. Some went to the opening production of THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WM. SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED). Another alternative was the flying exhibition--how to use technology to "fly" on stage.

And of course there was the imprompu I.E. rehearsal after dinner (or was this after breakfast on Tuesday?).

Tommy shoots a mime-arrow--bull's eye!

Tuesday, June 23: The entire day was devoted to individual events. Our students' schedules were spread out over the day, with some competing at 10:30 AM and some not until 3 PM and everyone packed in between those times. The competitions were also spread out among various buildings on the UNL campus.

We all tried to support each other, and attended the performances of our TWPI students, to the extent possible. For example, I watched Anna Rose in solo musical, Tommy and Moon in mime, Joseph in monologue, and Reece in solo musical. Besides these talented performances, I also saw some terrific performances by students from other schools.

Tommy and Moon with the Texas mime champions, Jonathan Thomas and Curtis Lee. (Both of these teams would eventually score three overall-superior ratings! And get honorable mentions on the Festival Showcase program.)

And after IEs, two of our juniors (Miki Nadia Dela Cruz and Adeleyah Mojica) had college auditions. It was an intense and tiring day.

All of our meals were in the Pound cafeteria--typical dorm food. We saw many students from other schools there, and met some of them. We were also entertained by the kitchen staff, who played trumpet and piano and otherwise performed for us nearly every afternoon.

On Tuesday evening, we watched the main stage performance of Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, performed by Memorial High School Performing Arts Center students at the Leid Center. They had amazing sets, strong vocal performances, and simple but effective choreography. (I liked the costuming of the Mount Carmel performance better. The music performance of the two shows was about equal. And of course, I liked the personal connection and energy of our own MCS students when they put on this play!)

Tuesday evening's dance was "character bash." Lots of students from other troupes dressed up. I didn't go. (Don't know if others did.)

Wednesay, June 24: We had another busy day. Chapter Director Harold Easton required that the students be at breakfast by 7:30 AM. After breakfast (meaning about 8:30 AM), the students did a read-through of their play (scheduled in the Chapter Select Showcase for Thursday afternoon).

Head in the game? Maybe, yes, no.
Read-through in progress.

Read-through in progress.

Royze, Dayanara, Kay, Miki, Tony--during the read-through.
Read-through in progress.

Mr. Alepuyo-satisfied.

Saipan Southern High School team members: Jacquelyn David, Mrs. Dora B. Miura, and Anna Rose Deleon Guerrero.
SSHS future team? Royze Banados, Dayanara Flores, Mrs. Miura, Anna Rose and Ray Mark Denora.

We then attended the 10 AM main stage performance of FOREVER PLAID (Stuart Ross/James Raitt), performed by FMHS students. Lots of good oldies music!

And then we went to lunch and to more workshops or plays in the afternoon. Matt Wheat was busy the entire time in leadership workshops with the International Thespian Officers; the rest of the TWPI team took advantage of the variety of activities offered.

I went to a workshop on "writing the 10-minute play." This workshop had more than 20 students in it, but I was the only TWPI member there. Students and chaperones were busy in other workshops and watching plays in the Chapter Select and Freestyle theatres.

At the same time in the afternoon on Wednesay, our techie junior (Kay Park) had her college auditions. Harold Easton and other adults were busy with management issues and also festival activities (scoping out the theatre for our performance and arranging tech support, for example).

Wednesday evening we watched THE BOYS NEXT DOOR (Tom Griffin), staged by Owensboro High School. This drama had great acting and a very poignant script.

The play finished about 10:30 PM and then our students rehearsed their play! Yes it was late. But they came to Festival to work, and so they did!

Matt, Tommy and Dayanara

Joseph & Tommy. (Royze, Miki and Adeleyah watching "on stage" and Mrs. Barja watching from "off-stage.")

Matt, Anna Rose and Dayanara.

Miki and Adeleyah.

I bailed out about midnight. The students continued their rehearsal, but fortunately did make their 1 AM curfew. And everyone slept--exhausted from the long days of the Festival week so far. Wednesday's dance was the "Wear Red" for BC/EFA benefit. I didn't go.

Thursday, June 25: The students "slept in." And then attended the 10 AM showing of ALMOST MAINE (John Cariani) staged by Dubuque Senior High School. The play was set in Maine, and there were tons of pine trees and fake snow on the stage. The theatre itself was so cold that Mrs. Miura commented on how great the special effects were! The play was sweet and funny and sad, another good job by students.

After this play, we ate lunch and then spent the rest of the afternoon focused on the TWPI presentation of THE MARVELOUS PLAYBILL (Miguel Cervantes), staged in the Howell Theatre. Perhaps waiting was the hardest part--in the hall, quietly because another play was on stage, with last minute nerves a jangle!

Ready and not ready, and waiting.

Anna studies her lines again.

Ms. Babauta sits with some students, waiting...

Mrs. Miura and Mr. Alepuyo, cameras in hand...

Moon clowns to relieve some tension.

Mrs. Barja volunteered to hold the Thespian badges for our students.

Play director, Matt, confers with Mr. Easton before the production.

The students get some last minute instructions.

And Matt gives his encouragement.

More waiting.

And then we were in the dressing room and the students went into action!

Mrs. Miura applies eyeliner to Ray Mark.

Joseph draws on a mustache.

Adeleyah pre-show.

Matt pre-show.

Liezel and Moon pre-show.
Royze pins up Dayanara's hair.
Christina applies make-up to Aisha.
Anna Rose applies stage make-up.
Reece works on his make-up.
TWPI cast before the show.

The production was a success! Our students did a really good job. And now, the pressure was OFF!

And news was trickling in: Miki had about 10 college callbacks. Adeleyah had nearly as many. And eventually, Kay ended up with 21 COLLEGE CALL BACKS! A new record for a TWPI team member! So these juniors were busy the rest of the Festival setting up interviews with the college representatives who had invited them for call backs, meeting with these people, and learning about possible programs and benefits for their futures.

Thursday evening, we watched A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (Shakespeare), presented by the Missouri all-state cast of Thespians. The bard's work was kept in tact script-wise, but the setting and costuming was modernized. This gave the production a bit of a bizarre edge to it. The faerie costumes were my favorite aspect of the production.

Thursday's dance was Zombie Prom. I didn't go. (Don't know if others did.)

Friday, June 26: We were free, relaxed, and still busy. The 10 AM show was THE RIMERS OF ELDRITCH (Lanford Wilson). (I admit-I missed this. I finally really slept in!) We went to lunch and more workshops. I tried to attend one on set design, but the presenter never showed up. (I sat there with about 10 other students, waiting... we were all disappointed.) Later I attended one with Anna Rose on Commedia d'ell Arte. (Photos on this to be posted later.) This was a lively workshop, where we got to see and touch and try on masks, hear a brief lecture on the history and (stereotypical) characters of Commedia, and then practice some of the moves that characterize some of the more popular characters.

Friday dinner, the TWPI adults joined other adults from region 1 for a dinner. It was nice to meet and greet people from our region and hear what they're doing, their triumphs and concerns.

Friday evening, we watched ALL SHOOK UP (Joe DiPietro/ Elvis Presley). This was more fun oldies music wrapped around a typical comic romance.

Friday night was the auction. I didn't go. We had a meeting of TWPI team adults, though, because we'd gotten back the IEs.

Saturday, June 27: We were all exhausted. We watched the Festival Showcase--those students who got first place in each of their categories. We had some success, too: MHS students Sung Yul (Tommy) Baik and Moon Hyo Lee got an honorable mention in mime for their overall superior rating. And Kagman High students Aisha Joyner and Akeiko Dela Cruz also got an honorable mention in duet acting for their overall superior rating. Yay! (These students were among the top 10 in their performance areas. And that's really saying something when you think that more than 500 students competed, and the students competing won their right to compete by beating out thousands of students from their respective states--first at the district level, then at regionals, and then at the state level!)

Students ate lunch at the dorm, and then took an afternoon off--for more shopping, an evening out, and to receive their individual I.E. evaluations. In all our students did well.

I went to a final workshop--on wigs! What a riot!

And then there was a flurry of packing, and most of the TWPI team departed at 3 AM (June 28, Sunday morning), with just a few of us waiting for other travel arrangements (or already gone early to NJFL).

This was truly an experience! Congrats to all of the TWPI team 2009 for a job well done.