The world’s a stage for theater

Rita Lai and Karen Wang

Talented musical duets, soloists and production designers from high schools around Orange County engaged in a day of competitive performance at the Roleabout Theater Festival on Oct. 16. Senior Rey Shankar took home second in the contemporary dramatic monologue category while junior Catie Jamieson placed second in classical monologue. Whether they were competitors, student judges or volunteers, Northwood had a high turnout with 25 participants.
“I took videos of myself and reviewed them as if I were critiquing someone else,” Shankar said. “My contemporary dramatic was about a girl who is confronting a man who sexually abused her, while the character I portray in my original monologue blames themself for the death of a friend and is contemplating suicide. I was able to resonate with both topics, which made the acting a lot more authentic.”
With weeks of preparation, festival participants performed in front of judges and peers in preliminary rounds throughout the day.
“Leading up to the event, we all worked together as Ms. Dunavold was kind to allow the team to use the theater space after school and get feedback from each other and her,” Jamieson said.
Judges utilized rubrics highlighting technique, natural movement and overall effectiveness to decide if performances moved on to the finals. Northwood brought two student judge representatives, juniors Sohani Pawan and Kiara Kuriakose, to serve as judging apprentices.
“I had some great conversations with professional judges as I got to hear their opinion on each performance, which helped me as a performer,” Kuriakose said. “The judges in my preliminary round went to Woodbridge High School, so it was really interesting to get to know their experience with theatre.”
At the end, an awards ceremony presented medals to three performers from each category to commemorate their hard work and dedication.
“The most important thing though was just having fun doing what I love surrounded by the people I love and sharing our passion for the arts,” Jamieson said.
The Roleabout Theater Festival is just one of the opportunities that the drama course offers. Students will participate in the Fullerton College Theater Festival and showcase the play “Ashgirl” next spring. In previous years, students behind-the-scenes and on stage made Northwood musicals possible, with fan favorites such as “The Little Mermaid” and “Mamma Mia.” Look out for this school year’s musical on the “Theory of Relativity” in the upcoming months.
“I’m proud of being able to prove my abilities to myself in such a competitive event despite some setbacks,” Shankar said. “My biggest takeaway for future competitions would definitely be that the best way to perform is to just put your whole soul into it and leave your mark on the stage.”