Laura Catron ‘17: After school last Thursday, the Romeo Theatre Company left for Saginaw Valley State University, the host of this year’s Michigan Thespian Festival. Romeo’s troupe, usually one of the largest at the festival, grew bigger than ever this year with 45 students, over 30 of whom competed.
The festival is a small branch of the Educational Theatre Association, an international organization. Attending students and chaperones participate in workshops, watch performances by other schools, and compete for awards and scholarships.
This year, three senior members of RTC auditioned for scholarships. In order to qualify, students auditioning must either major or minor in theatre at college. Davion Cameron, Camryn D’Angelo, and Carly Wilson were all overjoyed after the announcement of their earnings during the awards ceremony Saturday night.
“I am ecstatic,” Cameron said. “I got a scholarship to a school that wasn’t even featured in the colleges giving out scholarships.” Cameron also competed in monologue acting and group acting, earning Superiors in both.
Overall, Romeo earned the two highest scores that can be given out, 23 Superior awards and 16 Excellent awards. Romeo students participated in nearly every category available, from makeup design to playwriting to group musical theatre. Their preparations for these events started before the fall play even began rehearsals. The stress leading up to the event was high, but eventually the students’ hard work paid off. For many competitors, it was their first time going to festival.
“I know that a few days before I got crazy to deal with and temperamental and hard-headed, but… we showed how phenomenal we can be, and we did it on the day that we needed it the most,” Veranika Nicaj ‘18 said.
“We had a six-person scene and for five of us, it was our first year at Thespian,” Heidi Stauffer ‘17 said. “The scene really didn’t show off what we could do, so two days before the festival we changed and took a different four-person, 10 minute scene and turned it into a six-person, four minute scene.” Stauffer and Nicaj, both festival newbies, played in the same scene, which earned a Superior.
Romeo performed in the closing ceremonies with the song “Freak Flag” from Shrek the Musical. For the seniors, the performance signified the end of an era, reminding them of the little time they have left as members of the Romeo Theatre Company.
“The fact that this is our last Thespian Festival is so sad because everyone has just gotten better and better over time, and of course I want to see how good they get in the future,” Erin Lambert ‘17 said. “The fact that this is our last festival is just really heartbreaking.”
With sore feet and hoarse voices, the students pulled back up to the high school at nearly midnight on Saturday. In less than a month, auditions for the spring musical begin, but until then, Romeo Theatre Company has earned a break.