Leader Assistant Editor
The Bear River drama team recently placed second in region. Those who received overall and straight superiors qualified for the state competition, where several Bears claimed top marks.
During region Jacob Stanley-Gray claimed the region title for his pantomime, while Kyle Parkinson and Sala Farris won best character actors. Two of the judges, who taught Shakespeare professionally, were very impressed with their performances.
Judges rank the student’s performance in musical theater, pantomime, classical scenes, contemporary scenes, humorous monologue and dramatic monologue, as fair, good, excellent or superior. Those with overall or straight superiors had the opportunity to attend the state competition in Stansbury.
At state Bear River went up against 25 schools from throughout the state. While the team did not place, several individuals claimed superior marks, earning a medal and the opportunity to letter in drama.
Besides individual events the team also performed a one-act play, in which the setup, performance and feedback from the judges have to be completed within an hour.
This year their one act was “The Comedy of Errors” by Shakespeare. Parent coach Mary Farris was the director and condensed the three-hour play into 40 minutes.
Also helping guide the students in this act was Program Director Chris Wright, who began working with the drama club in January. He said Shakespeare is a huge challenge for high school students because it is like another language. However, judges complimented Bear River for their performance and were impressed with their handle on the language.
He said, “I was very proud of the kids to get straight superiors at state, that is amazing. We had kids who won nearly every round. It is an intense competition and they performed very well. It meant a lot to get ranked the way they did. This was a huge victory for us to reaffirm what we are doing and how we are doing it.”
Wright thinks it is kind of a silly concept to judge art since it is subjective, however, he said, “It is an amazing opportunity to have fun, perform and meet a lot of kids. It is not so much about trophies as it is about performing. I really try to stress to the students to have fun.”
During state Ammon Wendel and Katrina Goodwin went to the medal round for classic scene. Wright said, “That is huge, that is not an easy thing to do. They were in the top five at state.”
He was also impressed with the dedication of several students. Competing in the contemporary scene were Jordan Michaelis and Gavin Harris. They performed a complicated, intense but very funny scene at region.
Wright said the students were discouraged with the difficult piece and thought about quitting. Wright convinced them to stick it out, telling them they earned the right to attend and should take advantage of all performing opportunities.
The two dedicated their time on the bus and early Saturday morning working on the scene. The last minute work to their craft paid off as they claimed straight superiors.
“That was the most rewarding. School is intense in the spring with everything these students have going on in their personal lives. They just felt like they had nothing left to give. To see them come back and compete in all three rounds was really inspiring,” Wright said.
Up next for Bear River drama will be their production of “Sherlock Holmes: Hound of the Baskervilles,” which runs May 3, 4 and 6.
For a complete list of awards for the team, go to our website, www.tremontonleader.com