Payson Thespians Emote At State Festival


The 23 Payson High School drama students upheld a 17-year tradition by attending the state conference, Nov. 16 and 17.

Students threw themselves into workshops and auditioned for colleges during the two-day conference.


Payson High School's Thespian Troupe received Honor Troupe Status for the eleventh year in a row (for the 2006-2007 school year) at the Arizona State Thespian conference Nov. 16 and 17. Rachel Ward, Laughlin Potvin, Marleann Nielsen and Silas Eckstein contributed to the award that grades drama departments on a point system for their productions, community service and Thespian troupe.

"The conference was phenomenal," Sabrina Brahm said.

Her favorite play performed by another high school was "A Sure Thing."

"It was cute. It was about first impressions," she said.

The play Brahm was in, "Sex Lives of Superheroes," earned an "excellent" rating at the conference. Superior is the top rating.

"When the judges talked to us, they talked about how we worked the audience well, but we needed to work on the blocking to make it more exciting," Superheroes' director, Jesse Carpino said.

"We were going for big characters and the judges thought it might have been more entertaining if the characters were more human," she added.

The 2,000 students at the conference had their choice of workshops.

Juggling stands out as one Carpino liked.

She started in beginning juggling, could not believe how much she liked it so went on to advanced.

"I never thought that I could learn to juggle, let alone techniques like juggling columns and props," Carpino said.

Razzleboxes is a conference workshop standard.

Students stand on a square and have to act out the emotion named in it.

"Its all about getting your body and your breathing and your face into the emotion," Julia Legassie said.

The teacher had the teens focus on the kind of breath that goes with being, for instance, angry, excited or upset to the point of tears.

"We were all really exhausted at the end," Legassie said.

Wes Wisner enjoyed making up improvisational scenes from fortune cookie strips.

Tiffany Green, an ex-Arizona State Thespian officer who went on to dance in "Hairspray" on Broadway, taught dance.

Megan Underwood was not sure she wanted to go, but the class turned out to be "fun."

Scott Andrus, who is also a PHS football player, got into the dance spinning as an airplane.

Andrus used a few new muscle groups, but "it wasn't hard," he said, then smiled.

Underwood, Brahm, Seth Scott and Mac Still all liked Paul Chung's yoga workshop.

"I was tired, but relaxed, at the end of yoga," Scott said.

Scott had extra duties as a Thespian officer, but he made time to perform two independent monologues from the plays "Brontosaurus" and "Addict." The judges gave him two "excellent" ratings.

Be it workshops or onstage, Haley Scott said the conference was "exhilarating."

"I'm not even kidding. You are never embarrassed because everyone encourages you to get involved," she said.

The two guys, from another school who won critic's choice awards, complimented and then serenaded Brahm for her performance.

So were Mac Still's efforts on behalf of PHS.

"I promoted our one-acts like crazy while we were there, so I am hoping people (drama students from various schools) will come up for it," he said.

Nichole Resound is the publicist for PHS drama productions.

The workshop she attended was on how to get a bigger audience. One of those way is to create a Web page or post a short film to, so the department will take that under consideration at their next meeting.

Students have a chance to audition for college and university drama departments at the festival.

"Audition if you get the opportunity. You get to talk to so many people who are passionate about what they they do," Jennifer Sandoval said.

She is uncertain if her college major will be theater, musical theater or something entirely different.

In the meantime, drama teacher Kathy Siler encouraged her students to text message their new drama friends and encourage them to come to PHS in mid December for the one-act plays and again Feb. 9, when the school hosts the Northern Arizona Thespian Festival.

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