DramaCon gives Thespians real-life experience

Andrew+Horning+helps+Kayla+McLaughlin%2C+both+12%2C+prepare+for+her+scholarship+monologue.+McLaughlin+performed+a+piece+derived+from+the+novel+She+Said+Yes+by+Misty+Bernall.+Photo+by+C.+Butcher

Andrew Horning helps Kayla McLaughlin, both 12, prepare for her scholarship monologue. McLaughlin performed a piece derived from the novel She Said Yes by Misty Bernall. Photo by C. Butcher

BY CATIE BUTCHER & MIA CARVALHO

On Jan. 3 – 5, Wesley Rice, English, took 12 of South’s Thespian troupe members to the Kansas Thespian Conference. At the conference, students were able to partake in workshops, activities, and watch four main stage shows. These shows were Celtic Tales, New York, Little Women, and Godspell.

“I enjoyed Little Women because I felt like I bonded with a lot of the characters and I cared about what the other characters were thinking,” Andrew Horning, 12, said. “I did not really like Godspell because I felt that the plot was kind of distant and there wasn’t much connectivity with the actual audience.”

Students were also given the opportunity to go to several different workshops that focused on different parts of theater. Some of these focused on acting tips while others were focused on make-up and other technical aspects of the stage.

“I learned a lot of techniques for makeup and how to create real looking tattoos for the stage in the workshops,” Emily Bruggeman, 9, said. “I also learned some good tips on picking audition songs and how they relate to the shows you are auditioning for.”

As a senior at the Thespian Conference, people are given the chance to audition for a scholarship provided by the International Thespian Society and for many different area colleges. Kayla McLaughlin, 12, was the only senior to audition this year.

“I really liked auditioning for my scholarship because I got to perform a piece that I am really passionate about and it is something that really matters to me,” McLaughlin said. “I got to find out which colleges are interested in me which was pretty cool. I think it went pretty well. I got eight callbacks from colleges that wanted to talk to me and a ninth college from Colorado that came up to me and told me that I blew him away and that he wanted me to come to his college.”

Four students from South also competed in different individual events while at the conference. Alex Wilson, 11, and McLaughlin performed an acting duet while Alec Doerksen, 9, performed a musical solo. Bruggeman also competed in the musical solo category, performing “Think of Me” from The Phantom of the Opera. She received a superior rating from the judges.

“I think I did pretty well,” Bruggeman said. “I could have done a little better but I tried my hardest and I thought I did a good job.”

This year was the first year that students attending the conference were able to stay in a hotel downtown for the duration of the event.

“I thought staying in the hotel was an excellent bonding experience,” Horning said. “I thought it was a very good way to get more in touch with my fellow thespians rather than just going home and sitting by myself.”

Andrew Horning helps Kayla McLaughlin, both 12, prepare for her scholarship monologue. McLaughlin performed a piece derived from the novel She Said Yes by Misty Bernall. Photo by C. Butcher