CMR drama dominates 2018 Thespian festival

Quincy Schmechel, Editorial Board

Saturday, Feb. 3 marked not only an exciting trip to Missoula for C. M. Russell’s drama department, but also a milestone for the troupe as they came, saw, and conquered the Thespian Festival.

CMR Drama earned several awards, including best overall production and best student-written performance. The latter is what made the show, “The Sad, Sad Tale of Emily Bird,” unique; senior Mary Brown, who also wrote last year’s show for the festival, authored the award-winning play.

“Since I wrote last year’s show and didn’t win the writing award, I wanted to try again,” Brown said. “Mr. Evans had this idea about theater ghost stories, and he gave me an intro and a conclusion and said ‘go with it.’ Both kind of changed as it went on; it’s funny how it starts somewhere and ends in a completely different location.”

Brown said that seeing her creation come together on the stage wasn’t as sad as some would expect, but rather an unparalleled feeling of achievement. “I didn’t cry this year. I cried last year,” Brown laughed. “It’s such a fulfilling moment when you’ve worked for something so long and you see it all come together. It’s never exactly like it was in your brain, but in truth it was even better.

Seeing that everything worked out the way you wanted it to is such a good feeling; I can’t even describe it.”Although the awards the show garnered at the convention surpassed even Brown’s dreams, she expressed that she was equally as thrilled by the support and reception the show received.

“It was something that the whole school supported, all the students supported, and the whole troupe was really supportive,” she said. “So [it] was awesome that everyone could really come together. At the convention, we had probably 10 students from different schools across the state ask for a copy of the script. That was really cool.”

Brown said that after having worked on the show’s writing for the last year, and after the troupe’s efforts in putting it together on stage for about a month, she felt as though every ounce of effort was worth it.

Sophomore Bailey McMaster agreed with Brown’s assessment, and said that although she was nervous to play the title role of Emily Bird, she was excited from the get-go.

“I usually try to breathe during an audition,” McMaster said as she described her creative process. “When I found out that I got the role, I was extremely excited because it was the role I wanted when I had originally heard about the play. I had so many ideas for [Emily Bird’s character].”

McMaster said that her nerves were supported not only by the highly collaborative and cooperative environment of the troupe, but also the atmosphere of Thespian Festival itself.“Thespian Festival is one of the most amazing experiences you can ever have,” she said.

“You go and you see all these people from all these different schools who have the same motives and the same dreams as you, and they won’t judge you; they’ll be there to support you.”McMaster said she also felt support from CMR.“I feel like we did a really nice job with supporting our school throughout the 7 run-throughs,” she said. “I know some kids saw it twice, but some were [into] it every single time they saw it. That made me really happy because it meant that the work that we put into it really paid off.”Lastly, McMaster said that Thespian Festival further surpassed her dreams during the award ceremony and the support the troupe received afterward.

“It was really cool because last year, sadly, we didn’t win an award,” McMaster said. “But this year, afterwards we were all feeling so pumped and we were getting all these compliments from other schools, saying ‘You guys did so good!’ or ‘I was shaking!’ When we got the award it was a really cool moment; everyone was just so supportive that we got the big award.”