April 14, 2017
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As we entered the season of birth and saw the first glimpses of sunshine, the Olympia Dramafest kicked spring into gear. The student directed plays ran from March 10-11, and brought interesting life to the Black Box.
Seniors Eric Lloyd, Rose Rinehart, Emily Charles, and junior Maggie Neatherlin directed the plays. The collection of plays featured roughly thirty Olympia High School students. The directors chose the one act plays, held auditions, and selected the setting.
The experience was one that doesn’t come around with every school production that comes out. Unlike the massive production of a school wide play, Dramafest is a very chilled out setting. Being in the Black box is significantly less intimidating than the large and in charge Performing Arts Center. “Doing it in here is a lot of fun,” said senior director Eric Lloyd. “It can be intimidating considering we can see everyone’s faces.” The actors and directors have a closer connection to the audience and the environment is comfortable and welcoming. The five-dollar fee for entry is worth the experience provided by the student thespians.
Despite the less intimidating and more laid-back setting, the production quality still glimmered through the charming performance. Considering students put the entire event together, all aspects must be appreciated. With very little intervening from adults, the production ran near flawlessly. The actors had put in significant effort and determination to memorize their lines, which they admitted was the most difficult aspect of the event. Junior director Maggie Neatherlin said the biggest struggle was “double casting, we each have actors that are in different shows.” Although the actors had to memorize two sets of lines, they pulled off a flawless performance.
Each director had their own play that they selected and did casting for. Governing Alice, a play based on the work Antigone, Going to School, a play featuring family antics on a boy’s first day of college, Property Rites, a horror play about animatronic dolls coming to life, and Common Ground, a kaleidoscope of scenes taking place inside one coffee shop. Director of the Theater department Kathy Dorgan said that “the students selected the plays and I only confirmed them. When I saw the first full run-through on opening night I was blown away” as were the family and friends of the cast and crew. She went on to say, “I thought they were extremely invested in the work that they chose. Letting them choose their own productions made them more passionate about the result.”
The directors held their cast together and clearly knew the plays like the back of their hands. Before each of the four plays began the director would come forward and introduce themselves and the production their actors were about to perform. This provided the audience with a good opportunity to connect better with the play and seemingly allowed them to appreciate the work in a different light. Mrs. Dorgan also mentioned, “This was my favorite setup of Dramafest. We’ve done it other ways before but this one just fit so much nicer.”
Dramafest isn’t going away anytime soon, and this format will surely be implemented next year. The new batch of directors will certainly need to come up with something amazing to try and compete with the wonderful performance that was put on this year. The directors, actors, and plays were one of a kind and showed off that the Olympia Drama Department is an impressive division in our school and holds a very high level of prestige and pride.