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Fine arts students display talents at MHS acting showcase

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By Harlan Rose
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(Harlan Rose | Trojan Times) "Between the Lines" is a drama by Dennis Bush that discusses the pitfalls of unreliable journalism. As the play had many minor parts, the majority of the actors involved took on multiple roles.

(Harlan Rose | Trojan Times) “Between the Lines” is a drama by Dennis Bush that discusses the pitfalls of unreliable journalism. As the play had many minor parts, the majority of the actors involved took on multiple roles.

(Harlan Rose | Trojan Times) "Scarlet Expectations of a Drowned Maiden and Two Greek Queens" takes place on a talk show, the Dee Dee Dane Show, in which five women from famous plays (such as "Hamlet") discuss their frustrations towards men.

(Harlan Rose | Trojan Times) “Scarlet Expectations of a Drowned Maiden and Two Greek Queens” takes place on a talk show, the Dee Dee Dane Show, in which five women from famous plays (such as “Hamlet”) discuss their frustrations towards men.

On May 15, students from various acting classes participated in an acting showcase at the MHS cafeteria, in which two single act plays – “Between the Lines” by Dennis Bush and “Scarlet Expectations of a Drowned Maiden and Two Greek Queens” by Robert Wing – were presented under the direction of Central Theatre Arts Academy (CTAA) Director Julia LoPresti. The two productions gave the students the opportunity to display the skills they had been learning throughout the year and gave some their first appearance in the spotlight.

“The show went way better than I thought it was going to go,” said Junior Naomi Ingram, who portrayed Mrs. Belasco and several minor characters in “Between the Lines.” “I had a lot of doubts, but it turned out really well, the audience really enjoyed it, it seems, so that’s all we really wanted.”

“Between the Lines” is a drama with a plot that primarily focuses on the issues caused by unreliable journalism, alongside the problems that arise when one does not read an article fully. “The play itself is based off of real newspaper headlines and a lot of people when they read the newspaper, they just kind of breeze through it, they don’t really understand what it’s about and I think ‘Between the Lines’ kind of delves into those specific stories, so it shines more light on what really happens,” explained Freshman Melanie Chun, who portrayed Mr. Belasco and several minor roles.

On the other hand, “Scarlet Expectations of a Drowned Maiden and Two Greek Queens” is a comedy that takes the form of a talk show. “The play is about a talk show host and her five guests are women from various plays early (from) like 400 years ago and they have a problem with men,” said Freshman Faith Hooks, who portrayed Dee Dee Dane, the host. Guests on the show included well-known characters such as Queen Penelope from Homer’s “The Odyssey” and Ophelia from William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

The students that participated in the showcase prepared for the event through rehearsals and received further assistance from LoPresti. “We rehearsed during class, like one day we’d do one scene and the other the next, but then we had two rehearsals on stage in the cafeteria,” said Hooks. Ingram added, “(LoPresti) gave us ideas and inspiration for meanings behind certain movements that we did and stuff like that.”

Despite the efforts put into rehearsals, many of the students felt pressured by nerves as they prepared to go on stage and employed various techniques to overcome them. “I was nervous because we had never done a full run-through, where everyone memorized their lines and actually, when we were backstage rehearsing we still had trouble, but we pulled it through,” expressed Hooks. Ingram added, “(I overcame the nerves) just by having confidence in our rehearsals and depending on everybody else to know what they have to do.”

Yet in the end, members of both productions felt that the showcase was a success. “It just went really well, I’m really surprised. I mean, we got a bunch of people who weren’t even on stage, who had never been on stage once in their life and it just went really well, everyone worked well together and I’m pleasantly surprised,” said Chun.

Despite the success of the showcase, many of the actors recognized the need to improve on certain aspects of the productions, ranging from issues with props to the memorization of lines. “I waited a long time to memorize my lines. If I did that from the start, it probably would’ve been a better production,” explained Hooks. Ingram added, “I wish I had not taken things so seriously and had a bit more fun. I was like, ‘Oh, we have to get this done and we have to be serious.’ But now that it’s over, I wish I had enjoyed it more.”

Participants from both productions hope to work with LoPresti again in future showcases and CTAA productions.

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Fine arts students display talents at MHS acting showcase