Drama department starts off with bang, prepares for Thespian Festival, upcoming performances

With the shutdown of one, and the production of others over the year, the drama department knows what it is to be pushed.

“We’ve got kids who want to come,” department head Chris Evans said.

Last year, Evans took over stagecraft and ended up dealing with students who were there for one reason.

“In the past, people were there who just wanted a grade,” he said.

In the past, the lack of breathing time had begun to take its toll on not only him, but those in his stagecraft and drama classes.

“Last year was tough, and it was tough on the kids,” Evans said.

This year, however, Evans was given the ability to choose students that would be allowed to participate in stagecraft.

“I like it because I’m looking for people who have a stake,” he said. If you’re just working for a paycheck, how’s that fulfilling?”

As well as stagecraft, his drama classes have reaped the benefits of free time.

“I’m throwing some pretty heavy stuff at them,” Evans said. “There’s an excitement in the intro and intermediate classes.

One of Evans’ advanced theater students, senior Sarah Johnson performed in “The Foreigner”  and now has the chance to breathe a little easier.

“I thought [The Foreigner] went pretty well,” she said.

As the excitement begins to die down, Johnson says she is just waiting to do another show.

“I think the biggest highlight was all the compliments we got afterwards,” she said.

Though Johnson has experience with plays directed by Evans, she also knows what a student-directed play is like.

“When Evans directs a play, there’s one rehearsal period that lasts two hours,” she said. “When students direct, they get their own rehearsal hours and they pick the cast.”

As “The Foreigner” was wrapped up, Johnson noticed the amount of time and dedication that was put into the show.

“There was definitely a lot of talent and effort,” she said.

Although she performs very well, there are always challenges.

“The hardest thing is definitely getting the lines out of the way,” Johnson said.

She’s been performing since sophomore year in a variety of plays, but she says her favorite was “Noises Off.”

“It was a [gigantic] prop list,” Johnson said.

She has changed due to the drama department and the friends she has made while in both stagecraft and drama.

“I’ve come out of my shell more,”  Johnson said. “I’m not so shy and now I have more of a passion than a hobby.”

Hoping to gain a role in the upcoming play “12 Angry Women” junor Dallas Flemming can’t wait to see if the set can be done.

“It’ll be really interesting to see if this works because it’s an ensemble piece, so everyone’s on the stage all the time” she said. If we can pull this off, it’ll be really awesome.”

As well as “12 Angry Women,” she is looking forward to this year’s Thespian Festival held in Missoula.

“I’m excited for the theater olympics,” Flemming said.

The best part of Thespian Festival, according to Flemming is getting to hang out with all of her theater friends.