Drama Departs to the VTA

Rock Ridge Performing Arts competed at Virginia Thespian Asso

Jordan Hudson, Student Life Editor

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The RRHS Performing Arts just recently returned from the annual Virginia Thespian Association competition, receiving second place overall.

Thanks to event, the Dual Enrollment Drama class had a lot on their plate in the past few months. Preparing and practicing not one, but 2 separate plays; Peter and the Starcatcher, and The Very Gray Matter of Edward Blank.

The Very Gray Matter of Edward Blank was used in the competition while Peter and the Starcatcher was a commercial production. The group has put months of time and effort into these plays, working tirelessly on getting every prop, set and character just right.

Each play has brought on a large amount of work for the actors, but thanks to clever scheduling and work around they have managed to find a way to complete both plays in a short period.

Each of the plays required a separate set of props to make the story come alive for the audience, and to do that, the studio pout in a lot of time creating the set, costumes and props for each play in house.

When you’re designing a show you have to not focus on anything else, because if you dont, and because we’re doing do many shows, you start to mix them together, senior Hannah Kane said.

You’re not sure which design goes with which, and it takes a lot of focus out of you and you have to put in so much time, but once its done, it’s done, Kane said.

In addition to having to create props and sets for two different plays, the group had to find a way to make sure the play for the VTA competition was within the guidelines. For the Very Gray Matter of Edward Blank, this included editing the play from its original version.

We really didn’t cut that much at all. Just a handful of lines here and there to get it down from about 50 to 40 minutes,” director Anthony Cimino-Johnson said.The group had gotten permission from the playwright to do so,and made sure not tocut entire scenes.This way,the drama department could be within the guidelines of the VTA competition, and still tell a complete story.

The actors also put in tons of effort and practice into their individual characters to make the story and its characters come alive for the audience.

Throughout rehearsal processes I found that we were trying to create a story of a schizophrenic man who wants to be normal, and so I decided to play him wanting to be normal rather than the schizophrenic, because if you play him schizophrenic then it wouldn’t show the contrast between the voices and his character, junior Luke Harris said.

Harris plays Edward Blank, who is a schizophrenic man, who as Harris states, desperately wants to be normal. Standing in Edwards way are the voices, played by seniors Hailey Brunson,Nina Rivera and Kevin Lacey.

Touching on the theme of madness,Lacey compares his character to the joker in the Batman series.“I don’t understand how with the many jokers that there have been, how people can play can play a character like that and make it seem so effortless, Lacey said. I don’t know if it seems effortless when i do it but it’s not, you have to just get everything out of your brain and focus on the moment and live in that moment and make it hilarious and just make it exciting and new and over the top and exuberant and then still have a level of authenticity, Lacey said.

After performing at the VTA’s the RRHS performing arts members reached the final round and received second place. The group members are very happy with their results and are looking forward to their future productions and competitions.

Heres the thing, that was the best performance weve ever given, and it was our final round, I think when we left the stage we were so happy with it we would’ve been okay with anything, Brunson said. Obviously 1st is the goal in a competition, but it was such like an amazing feeling knowing that we got a standing ovation and people came up to us afterward and said that we delivered this message so beautifully, so I think that the response we got from the people outweighed any place we got.”

The RRHS performing arts now is preparing for their next play, based on the Disney movie, Tarzan.1st day auditions ended on Tuesday November 15, and the department is planning rehearsals soon.

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Drama Departs to the VTA