From March 17-18, the advanced drama class participated in the Ohlone High School Theatre Festival at Ohlone College in Fremont. The class brought over 20 entries, including a mini-musical, a one act play, and three videos.
For a public school, BHS made an impressive showing. Schools like Los Angeles County High School of the Arts, Marin School of the Arts, and Oakland School of the Arts often sweep the majority of the categories because, as art schools, they can dedicate more time to their pieces. BHS is also unique because every piece brought to festival is entirely student-directed, cut, and cast.
“At a lot of the art schools the teachers and directors choose and direct the material,” senior Taylor Navas said. “Everything we do is self-directed, and we get to pick our partners, so when we win, it’s that much more satisfying. The kids at the other schools tell us they hate their material because they don't choose it, so even if we don't win we have a lot more fun.”
Six pieces brought by advanced drama made it to finals, and three pieces placed in their respective categories. Among the finalists were the one act play Columbinus and two monologues. Senior Madelyn Levine won third place in the Contemporary Dramatic Monologue category for her monologue from Girl by Megan Mostyn-Brown, which she also used as one of her college audition pieces.
Among the shining pieces was the two person mini-musical version of Chicago, which was cut, directed, choreographed, and performed by seniors Claire Yballa and Sydney Kaufman. The musical took home first place in the new category “Student Directed.”
“I felt really proud, especially because it was my last year doing festival. It was nice to see that our hard work paid off since we did it all ourselves,” Yballa said.
Kaufman also placed for the music video she made with fellow senior Sam Hale. Their video to “Rivers and Roads” by The Head and the Heart won second place in the music video category.
“It felt pretty good to win because going up against art schools is always nerve-wracking,” Hale said. “They dedicate so much time, and we didn’t have that much time allotted for it. Everyone was so nice and supportive.”
Overall, however, the festival is about far more than winning and taking home trophies.
“It’s a really cool opportunity to watch what other students have worked on and interact with kids who do theatre from all over,” junior Logan Turner said.
The competition can be daunting and challenging, but it can also bring students together. At the awards ceremony, when Chicago was announced as first place, BHS students erupted into chants of “public school.”
“Whenever someone wins an award we scream and stand up in the stands. Whenever someone makes finals, we all go and watch so we can cheer and support them,” Navas said.
If you are interested in seeing the pieces advanced drama competed with, be sure to come to the annual Festival Night in the theater on Thursday night at 7. Admission is free.