Best in show

Advanced drama wins first place at DTASC against 62 other schools

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The advanced drama class started off their year by securing a first place win at the Drama Teachers Association of Southern California (DTASC) festival on Oct. 26. Seven groups from RUHS competed, with five of them making it to the semifinals, and one winning in the finals.

The DTASC festival is a scene competition for theatre with seven different categories to enter in. What makes DTASC different than any other competitions, however, are the restrictions: no costumes, no props — only four chairs to create a scene with. Drama teacher Melissa Staab “really enjoys” DTASC because of its “uniqueness.”

“It really causes you as an actor to be creative and think outside the box. You can use these four chairs and put them in all different places and add sound effects and different things to really enhance the scene,” Staab said. “You have to think about how you’re going to make a train, or a clock, for example, with these four chairs.”

Senior Kayla Louie was a member of the winning Open Comedy this year, and also was part of the winning team last year. Being a senior, Louie had a different perspective on DTASC than in the past.

“My team members and I talked about how every performance had the potential to be our last. Because I knew that I could really leave it all out on the stage because I may never be performing this again. It was so surreal,” Louie said. “We all really loved our piece.”

The students had to meet at 6:45 AM to make it to Calabasas High School for the DTASC festival on time. When they got there, they were welcomed to “a sea of pop-up tents,” then got to interact with groups from high schools all over Southern California.

“I’m always so happy that we are given these opportunities to go outside of our school and spread love for what we do elsewhere, versus just in our little corner of the school,” Louie said. “DTASC has such a great energy because everyone is there for the experience.”

RUHS’s seven teams competed against 62 different schools from Southern California, with the all-senior Open Comedy team winning first place in their category.

The team started practicing in the first week of school. After selecting their categories, they did research to find scenes to fit their categories, then worked almost every class to perfect their scenes. 

“I’m really proud of them. They worked so hard on their scene. Every day in class they were super motivated and practiced a ton,” Staab said. “They had all the perfect ingredients for a winning scene, and they really brought it that day and were really precise.”

The scene that the winning Open Comedy group competed was “Fifteen Reasons Not To Be in a Play,” by Alan Haehnel. The scene lists fifteen “ridiculous” reasons not to be in a play, such as “if you put on a play, it’ll cause bad weather.”

Seniors Cindy Meyer and Brianna Baker, members of the winning Open Comedy team, are both DTASC alumni. This was Baker’s eighth and Meyer’s sixth year attending. 

“I’m really proud; my group was amazing. We all worked very well together, and we gave it our all every performance so it was very satisfying to know that our hard work was recognized,” Meyer said.

One of the challenges Louie noted from this year’s DTASC is that last year’s winning team had four people and this year’s had six. 

“It was different in juggling the dynamic of adding two people because we had been used to dealing with four. Balancing those new opinions and making sure everyone was heard was a new thing that arose,” Louie said. “But, it was a lot of fun because it was very collaborative.”

Even though winning was exciting, the participants believe they were able to get more out of the festival beyond just a trophy to bring home.

“I’ve kind of gotten into a routine of what to expect from the festival but this year was really different because of the group cohesion that we had,” Baker said. “We didn’t go into it wanting to win. We went into it wanting to have fun.”

Photo by Kayla Louie
Redondo Union’s Advanced Drama class, including the all-senior Open Comedy team won first place at the Drama Teachers Association of Southern California (DTASC) festival on Oct. 26. Members of the open comedy team were Jason Young, Cindy Meyer, Brianna Baker, Joel Pierce, and Sophia Turcot