By JUDE SALAM
University High School’s advanced drama and technical theater students participated in the Role About Theatre Festival this October. Role About is a competition where students from Southern California high schools gather annually to celebrate their love for theater by competing in various competitions. Actors have the opportunity to compete in a variety of categories. Some may prefer to prepare a monologue while others may choose to collaborate with their peers to present scenes or improvisational performances. Actors are then evaluated by a panel of judges, consisting of both student volunteers and professionals, on their technique, use of movement, believability of performance, and overall effectiveness in their choice of materials.
This year, UHS’ drama department had an impressive eight performances that qualified for the final round of judgment.
Sophomore Audrey Moore, Senior Bailey Yace and Junior Keza Kananura placed as finalists in Contemporary Dramatic Monologue.
Sophomore Courday Farnam was a finalist in Classical Comedic Monologue.
Senior Angelina Ross was named a finalist in Contemporary Comedic Monologue.
Senior Neiman Araque placed as a finalist in Film Drama Monologue.
Senior Bailey Yace and Junior Keza Kananura collaborated and were named finalists in Contemporary Drama Scene.
Senior Angelina Ross, Juniors Davide Costa and Austin Kaufman and Sophomore Julia Rooney were finalists as Uni Improv.
In addition, these students placed in the top three. These talented students dedicated the early months of the school year rehearsing for the event, receiving feedback from their peers and head of the drama department Ms. Ranae Bettger.
Ross and Yace took first place for contemporary comedic and dramatic monologues respectively. Kananura won second place for her performance of the Contemporary Dramatic monologue “Ruined.”
“This is the first time I’ve gone to the festival and I was really excited but also nervous,” says Kananura, “I started preparing as soon as I found out it was going to happen. I think getting in the right headspace was the most challenging part of the process.”
Most competitors agreed that one of the highlights of the competition was regarding the social aspect of Role About. This could range from interacting and joking with friends or becoming friendlier with people from different programs.
“The best part about going to the festival was making friends with the kids from the other schools; its nice to be surrounded by kids who like the same stuff as I do.” Kananura said. In addition, Kanaura and Yace also went on to win second pace for their contemporary scene from the play Proof.
Students interested in technical theater participate in the competitive “Tech Olympics,” a competition in which competitors race to complete various technical challenges such as the Tool Relay Event where students complete tasks as a team using power tools. University High School’s team, “Bettger’s Barbarians” (Emi Nishida, Geraldine Ang, Shadan Shafa, Kira Ho and Deja Allen), took third place in the competition.
Overall, UHS drama students delivered an incredible array of performances, showcasing their incredible talents and reflecting their dedication and passion for theater arts whether it be through monologues or technical theater.