Carlmont drama sets the scene at Ohlone Theatre Festival
March 22, 2017
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Every spring, the Ohlone College campus buzzes with life as students apply stage makeup, rehearse lines, and belt Broadway show tunes one last time before they have to perform. These students are preparing for the Ohlone College High School Theatre Festival, a two-day competition.
The 23rd annual festival took place on March 18 to 19. After months of planning and rehearsing, Carlmont students brought home awards for best director, best comedic scene, and best dramatic one-act.
“After winter break, we rehearse almost every day until the competition,” said Amanda Masini, a junior, who planned much of the trip with Jasmine Zang, a junior, and drama teacher Nancy Martin. Although rehearsals start later in the year, Masini and Zang began looking for potential entries at the beginning of the school year.
While individual schools rehearse, the event coordinators at Ohlone look for volunteers.
Professional artists from all over the Bay Area act as judges at the festival. While watching live performances, they provide feedback for the competitors, inspiring and pushing students forward. With 35 categories to compete in, there are over 100 awards given after the final round.
“I think it’s a really valuable learning experience, especially for those who want to pursue acting as a career,” said Tessa Bagby, a junior.
The competitors first go through a preliminary round; if they make it as finalists, they perform once again. Then, they are placed. While the experience can be stressful and chaotic, it is a great opportunity for students to grow as aspiring performers. The competition forces students to adopt sportsmanship and take failures in stride.
“I want to try and outdo myself the next time I perform,” said Zang.
This was Carlmont’s third year participating in the festival, and many Ohlone veterans will find themselves returning next year, determined to improve as artists and meet new people at the event. In 2016, Ohlone hosted around 850 schools.
“The students return very inspired,” said Martin. “They get to perform at their own highest level.”