This December, several students from the Mast Academy Performing Arts Club participated in the Individual Events put on by the Educational Theatre Association. The competition is widely acclaimed by those within the Association and the affiliated International Thespian Society.
The students are participating in multiple events, including the Solo Musical and Small Group Musical categories. Sophomore Shea Stone, who has been to competition before, and seniors Glowie Allday and Emily Johnson are performing “Make Him Mine” from the musical The Witches of Eastwick. Stone is also performing alongside seniors Pia Nair and Amanda Marban in the Solo Musical category, with Stone doing “Safer” from the musical First Date, Nair doing “No One Else” from the musical Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, and Marban doing “With You” from Ghost – The Musical. The performers are evaluated by a panel of judges and receive scores of Fair, Good, Excellent, or Superior, based on Acting Transitions, Characterization, Singing Technique, Singing Expression, Movement and Dance, and Execution.
The performers have been practicing since the start of the school year, choosing and refining their selections with the guidance of the Performing Arts teacher, Dr. Cayce Benton, who regularly performs in local productions and has extensive experience in musical theatre. Benton says that she advises her students based on what has scored highly in the past; one can never know how the judges will react to a performance. There is no formula, as every performance is different, but there are certain techniques that performers use which have proven to be successful.
“When an actor is delivering a line, whether it’s sung or spoken, any movement or facial expression needs to coincide as a natural outcome of the thought process that creates those lines,” says Benton.
At the competition on Saturday, December 1st, those in the Solo Musical category presented their pieces to the judges with this in mind, and came home victorious. All three performers received an overall Superior, with two even receiving Superiors from all three judges.