High school is a time notorious for drama and big emotions, but students from around the state took it to a whole new level as they competed in the state drama competition at Stansbury High School in Tooele on April 12.
Twenty Morgan High School students brought their best dramatic flair in one of six categories including: musical theater, humorous monologues, dramatic monologues, classical scenes, contemporary scenes and pantomime.
“The students spend hours working on their scenes and monologues,” explained Candice Wilder, who teaches drama at Morgan High School, as well as Morgan Middle School. Each of the students work hard to select the best presentations to perform. Students even write their own pantomimes. Once their part is chosen, they work to memorize and perfect all aspects of their performances.
“As their coach, I watch, run and work their scenes over and over. We would work after school many long hours for those who wanted to do well,” the dedicated teacher said. “They would work on their own and with me in their spare time.”
Their hard work paid off when nearly every student received superior marks at state, which earned them a state medallion. Superior is the highest score in the competition and it is fairly difficult to earn from all of the judges in all rounds. Each competitor was judged by three different judges in three different rounds.
Morgan High also topped the podium in two categories. Whisper Pentz took place in comedic dialog. That is no small feat as there were 49 entries!! Morgan Rice also earned a first place competing against 48 others in the dramatic monologue category.
“The most exciting and hardest part is that the coaches know who won about 20 minutes before the winners are announced, so it’s really fun to try and hide it from them before they are called up on stage,” Wilder stated.
Wilder obviously cares about her students. Her excitement for acting is contagious and her dedication and ability is inspiring.
These theatrical students had to qualify in order to even compete at the state level. On March 29, the drama team competed at the region tournament, which was particularly exciting as Morgan hosted the event. Morgan drama used the “home court” advantage to steal the show.
At the region competition Morgan did very well. Colton Bell took first in pantomime. Josh Vidrine took third in pantomime. Wisper Pentz took second in comedic monologue. June Roed took third in comedic monologue. Morgan Rice took second in dramatic monologue. Brayden Albertoni, Jacob Peterson and Wyatt Ekblad took first in classical scenes. Jaycee Cook and Grant Porter took secind in classical scenes. Capris Johnson, Laurel Johnson and Grace Erikson took third in classical scenes. Heather Heywood took third in musical theater.
In addition to the students who placed, the following qualified and competed at state: Bailee Johanson, comedic monologue; Meghan Abbott, musical theater; Kelsie Cannon, musical theater; Alina Cannon and Sam Daybell, classical scene; and McKenzie Jensen, pantomime. Gage Anderson and Coleman Richards also qualified but were unable to attend.
The talented group will now focus on their last performance of the year “A Mid-School Night’s Dream,” which as the title suggests is based on Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” However, they have an incredible twist.
“We are placing it in Hogwarts Castle so everything is wizard themed. We will even have wands available for purchase at the show and a wand building workshop on the day of our Saturday performance prior to the show,” Wilder said.
The show was originally written by Wilder’s high school teacher to help his students understand the Shakespearean classic after they watched a performance by a touring company. His original script was in a modern setting. However Wilder contacted him and asked for permission to modify the script to be Hogwarts themed. He loved the idea and gave her permission to make her changes. So with a script and creative license, the high school drama students will perform this imaginative piece, which is sure to delight a wide range of audience members.
Mark your calendars for “A Mid-School Night’s Dream.” The drama department will be using this show as a fundraiser for next year’s musical “Peter Pan.” The performance will run May 1-5 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.