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RCHS drama to perform at International Thespian Festival

Pictured left to right: Jenna Snyder, Isabella Dempsey and Logan Bakken performing the play “Women of Lockerbie,” which was chosen to be presented on the main stage at the International Thespian Festival June 20-25 at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. 

By Lisa Nicklanovich; photo courtesy of Cindy Baker

The Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) thespian troop will perform on the main stage at the International Thespian Festival June 20-25 at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.  Cindy Baker, drama teacher at RCHS said, “About three years ago, I took one student to this event, then about eight students the next year.  Last year, 12 students went and I thought we should apply and see if we could perform on the main stage.”  Baker laughed and added, “From a van to a little school bus to a chartered bus; nearly the entire cast and crew are going this summer!”

Baker applied for the opportunity to have the play “Women of Lockerbie” judged, which was presented the week before Thanksgiving of last year.  Women of Lockerbie is a poetic drama about a women whose son died in the bombing of a Pan Am flight in 1988 as it traveled from London to New York City.  Baker intentionally chose a play with minimal sets and very low technology plus a flexible cast and crew to keep the traveling aspect easier, should the play be selected.

Castle Pines resident Nic Tsao, a senior who was in charge of the sound for Women of Lockerbie, said he thought this particular play was chosen because of the emotion that was put into it.  “The play is very sad and the way the actors performed made it seem real.”  Baker added, “This play was relevant to the kids because it was about a terrorist act and the Paris bombings happened about ten days before we opened.  The students were feeling it and how fragile their own safety was.”

Women of Lockerbie is a modern story with modern acting but written in verse drama because the playwright chose to present it in Greek tragedy style.  The combination of styles plus the educational value for students across the nation is what Baker thinks won the judges over.  Only 16 groups were chosen to represent the best high school theatre in the nation and two are from Colorado.  Along with RCHS, the Denver School of the Arts was also chosen.

In addition to the main stage performances, the festival is a six-day immersion in all aspects of theatre including singing, dancing, acting, designing, directing, creating, and writing.  Thousands of students attend the festival and participate in workshops by theater professionals, individual and group performances, programs for technical theater students, and opportunities to audition for college admission and scholarships.

Before the group boards the charter bus though, there will be rehearsals over the summer and fundraising.  So far, the group has fundraised for the trip through many different means, from selling coffee in the halls to picking up trash at Shea Stadium.

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