Thespian Troupe prepares for upcoming festival


FHS Theater Department

Production Photo from Wait Until Dark

Laney Hoggatt, Co Editor-in-Chief

Murders, thieves, a jury trial, cartoon characters, and an odd couple is found at Fayetteville High School.

The International Thespian Society was formed in 1929 to help encourage as well as support drama students and their teachers. About 4,000 North American schools have their own troupe. Troupe 717 is the Thespian Troupe at FHS that is made up of 18 students and led by drama and oral communication teacher Trevor Cooperescue.

“We are a gold star troupe, who have gotten lots of recognition in the past and I’ve been excited to join since I started here at FHS,” senior Margaret Murie said.

As a member of the troupe, students earn points to receive awards. Points can be earned by being cast in one of the school plays, being a part of the stage crew for school plays, being a part of the directing for a play, helping with the business aspect of school plays like ticket selling, and writing scripts. They also receive points for attending and competing at the festivals or for being a thespian officer. The troupe also wants its members to support each other, so points can be received for attending the plays. Points vary depending on what they do.

“The more hours you get in theatre from your freshman year on, the more points you get,” senior and thespian secretary Abigail Wetzel. “Ten hours equals one point and you basically get rewarded and noticed for doing fun stuff like acting, singing, and dancing.”

The troupe is performing Lockdown at their competition in Har-Ber on Friday. Lockdown will also be performed at the Thespian One-Act Festival in February.

“We have a One- Act festival and we will simply perform Lockdown to see if we can perform it at the festival in February,” Wetzel said.

At the February Thespian Festival, members compete in various events and attend theatre courses and seminars. Members have several events to choose from when competing. The events include monologue, duet acting, group acting, solo music theatre, duet musical theatre and group musical theatre. The festival also has several events for members who are more interested in the stage crew side of drama. The individual stage crew events are costume construction, costume design, lighting design, scenic design, short film, sound design, stage management and theatre marketing.

“There is something for everybody at the Thespian Festival, our big annual competition” senior and thespian president Warren McCombs said. “You can compete solo, or with a big group in any area from monologues to musicals to [stage crew] challenges.”

Members have learned several valuable skills like teamwork, cooperation and other valuable skills that can be used in their future careers. They also learn about all the aspects of theatre and develop their skills.

“Although I want to go into theatre and so much of what I am learning will hopefully help me in my career, thespians can help you in whatever you go in to,” junior and thespian vice president Charlotte McCombs. “It is such a great community of support, and through it, you learn so much about collaboration and cooperation, along with speaking skills and communication skills.”

Members spend a large amount of time together because of both in school and out of school events. Most members are in the same drama courses and are extremely involved in both school and local plays. This troupe stresses the importance of teamwork and supporting each other.

“[I have learned] the group is only as strong as our weakest link so accepting, loving and learning from each other is important,” Murie said.

The troupe also has several supporters that go and watch them perform. Several members are in other social groups, clubs and even sports like film, choir, and soccer. Many members’ friends, fellow classmates and families will show up to support them and sometimes their support can come from teachers or administrators.

Last year, our Thespian Festival, was a five-hour drive away and our principal at the time, Mr. Jacoby, showed up and surprised us to see our one-act showcasing,” Warren McCombs said. “That was such a happy moment.”

Each thespian had a different reason to join. Some joined as a way to meet new people and be a part of a closely knit group.

“[Theatre and thespians] is quite a bit like a team, more like a family,” Wetzel said. “Everybody depends on everybody.”

Others joined because of their interest in pursuing a drama career or just to improve their skills.

“I joined because of my passion for theatre, and my drive to improve my acting skills and support of the theatre program in my school,” Murie said.

While their reasons for joining are different depending on which member you ask, each member has a passion and drive for theatre. Several would even say that being a thespian made them who they are and that they would not know what they would have done if they were not in drama or apart of the troupe.

“Thespians is one of the best groups of people I know,” Charlotte McCombs said. “I don’t know what I would do without them.”

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