On Saturday, Jan. 12, 20 students participated in the first ever Theatrepalooza. The event, sponsored by the Thespian Society/Drama Club, was held in the Jeanne Spurlock Theater from 5:30-11 p.m.
Seniors Courtney Dunne and Matthew Gabbard planned the event, which included improv, group performances, and a pizza dinner. The event provided an opportunity for students to experience what it is like to be on stage without having to audition.
Dunne and Gabbard were inspired to plan this event after hearing about another high school’s event similar to it. “Another high school at last year’s State Conference had ‘Extreme Theater,’” Gabbard said. “It started at 8 p.m. on a Friday night, and they had 24 hours to write, build a set, and put on a show. [Theaterpalooza] was a shortened version of that.”
The event began with improv and other theater games. Then, each person was assigned a character and prop. They broke up into four groups of five people and spread out in different areas of the school to write and direct performances that incorporated their characters and props. These short shows were performed on the stage for the other groups and parent chaperones.
Sophomore Katie Farr’s group skit was elaborate and lasted approximately ten minutes . The other members in her group, ‘The Upstagers,’ were freshman Maddie Buhr, junior Scott Frenzel, sophomore Samantha Noland, and freshman Nick Robben. “Our skit was about a prince who was arranged to marry a German woman with a thick accent,” Farr said. “The priest that married the two was later found out to be a peasant woman that was in love with the prince. Her identity was revealed by her sister, who was catering the wedding. The fake priest and the prince ended up together in the end.”
Awards were given out for creativity. Junior Adam Dill received Most Diverse Character, The ‘Upstagers’ won Best Group Name, and Best Use of Props went to freshmen Mitchell Hartwell.
Sophomore Lauren Andrews enjoyed the event. “My favorite part of the event was getting to spend time with people who share an interest in theater,” she said. Andrews, who was assigned the character of a crazy bridezilla for her group performance, also liked how the event allowed her to collaborate with others and helped to develop her theater skills in an informal setting.
Theater Director Teresa DeZarn also was delighted by the collaborations. “It was fun to see kids of different levels and ages interacting together on a neutral ground,” DeZarn said. “I was nervous about [Theatrepalooza], just like when you try anything for the first time, but I think it was a huge success.”
Dunne and Gabbard also considered Theatrepalooza a success. “It would be great to make this an annual event,” Dunne said. “Hopefully we have it again in future years.”