Sunday, April 3, 2016

State Thespian Festival: State Wars!

This is the first time I have missed a Sunday for my Poetry sequence on the blog, but sadly, I do not have any poetry I find worthy of showing at all.... So maybe I'll continue it next week, maybe I'll start a new sequence... Are you all interested in something? Let me know!

From March 31st to April 2nd I went to Oregon's State Thespian Festival in Salem, Oregon and got to have loads of fun at my final conference of my high school career, and most likely my last one ever.

Not only does that bring some sad thoughts to the forefront of my brain, it really allows me the opportunity to reflect on the future and that's terrifying... but before I get to that... I am going to tell you a little about my little weekend! :)

First, we all piled onto the bus at 8:30am on Thursday morning... from Hillsboro to Salem... on the bus ride, we had a jolly good time and such and we stopped at IHOP (The International House of Pancakes, for those of you who do not know what IHOP is.) And I got to eat my FAVORITE pancakes ever... The Cinna-Stack pancakes, which is basically a cinnamon roll in pancake form, so duh I LOVE IT.

From there we drove to our hotel, a very shifty, all-kinds-of gross motel that probably didn't even get a half of a star... But it was cheap, so whatever. There we drop our luggage off, spend a little time relaxing, and headed over to the Salem Convention Center (also the location of the expensive, comfortable hotel...)

We watched some tech design presentations, and a plethora of other things including group acting, duo comedic acting, duo dramatic acting, duo musical, small group musical, large group musical, pantomime and a few other things as well. They were PHENOMENAL!!!!

We spend the vast majority of the day there breaking for dinner, where I got to eat at a DELICIOUS barbecue place in Salem. I ate a Philly Brisket Sandwich with Hushpuppies and Sweet Potato Fries, and boy was that filling and wonderful in every single way!

After dinner we walked about a mile over to the Elsinore Theatre, which is GORGEOUS

I mean LOOK at it! The structure is so beautiful and the designs are intricate and awestrucking.

There we watched our first show which was entitled Radium Girls and this was from Ashland HS in Southern Oregon! :D

I really liked this one. If you don't know, Radium Girls were female factory workers that contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with self-luminous paint. The production was well acted, even if the script itself wasn't terribly interesting. The history behind it all really made me like it more than I would have if this was a hypothetical thing. The reality makes it more meaningful and impactful. I thought it was phenomenal. Amelia Sorenson, pictured in the center below, played Grace Fryer and was showcased many times throughout the festival... She was PHENOMENAL, and I cannot wait to see where her talent takes her!

Factory workers and luminous watch dial painters Irene Rudolph, played by Grace Pruitt, left, Grace Fryer, played by Amelia Sorensen, and Kathryn Schaub, played by McKenzie Baratta in Ashland High School's production of "Radium Girls." Additional photos appear on A6.

After the show, half of us went back to the hotel while the other half went to the dance. Me, being who I am, went back to the hotel... and played Cards Against Humanity... And basked in the inappropriate things and everyone's glorious reactions. :)

We didn't get to sleep until about 2 in the morning that day, but it was well worth it, even if we had to get up to leave at about 7/7:30.

We ate a "continental breakfast" including yogurt, danishes, and oatmeal, plus coffee or orange juice. Although it was minimal, it was enough.

That morning April 1st we returned  to the Elsinore and got to watch another fantastic show!
Middletown from Sunset High School! My goodness, did I LOVE Middletown. It reminded me of Our Town by Thornton Wilder... and I LOVE Our Town, so getting to see this was phenomenal and it killed me in all of the best ways, I shed more than a few tears.

I honestly cannot explain the show to it's justice, and I recognize that it is not for everyone, but it was entirely for me. :) I think that the show can be well received if seen by the right audience, sadly I am not sure how large that audience actually is.

Middletown deals with some harsh topics and makes jokes to lighten depression and suicidal thoughts/attempts, and I can see why some people could get easily offended by it... But there was something mesmerizing about the entire thing... Maybe it was because the characters wholly reminded me about one of my best friends, Mike, but it could be for other reasons as well.

Honestly, I just connected with it, and I thought it was INCREDIBLY acted.

After that beautiful show, that about a quarter of our troupe liked, the other 3/4 hated... We went to watch Lydia's (a girl from our troupe that placed in script writing) one act entitled Ten Minutes. And it was so great to watch Lydia's genius be performed on stage! During that section of the festival we also got to watch a few others... I feel it is very important to recognize the accomplishments of Liberty High School's The Labyrinth that was also student written, and portrayed a controlling, abusive relationship between two teenagers PHENOMENALLY. Sahara is such a great actress that will no doubt go far in anything she puts her mind to, I respect her, and think she is such a kind person.  

There were a couple of other shows during the one act sessions that I loved the messages from.

We went out to lunch afterwards and we ate Sushi at O'Sushi! I found my favorite roll, (It's called the Vegas roll, if you care... :) And it was so much fun! I also got to try more of the Japanese Soda, which I appreciate!

Dinnertime I ate at this Middle-Eastern place that I do not quite remember the name of... Al Aqsa (I think) And I had a Falafel Gyro WHICH ARE WONDERFUL HOLY CRAAAAAP.

The night show was a musical entitled Once On This Island. <3 And this was presented by Clackamas High School. They can SIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNGGGG! OH MY GOD!!!!

I couldn't help thinking of one of my friends, and it made me really enjoy it. It felt like a very folksy fairy tale and I highly enjoyed it. It was extremely well sung and acted and the entire message was beautiful.

Here's a poster for it... and instalove aside, it was really, really good!

Put me in a really good mood!

I am going to fast-forward to Saturday and skip the rest of that night because it was practically the same as the night before....

We watched one acts (and they were super good!) again, including our one act entitled Bite Me! (It was funnnyyyyy!) I then won my Neighbourhood tickets! (and that was hassle. I thought someone stole them pretending to be me... I ended up getting them so I got stressed and angry for nothing!)

We later got to watch the 2016 State Showcase including some WONDERFUL scenes, a hilarious scene from Parallel Lives about the creation of men and women (I died laughing), two GREAT large group musical numbers, Toledo Surprise from The Drowsy Chaperone and A Musical from Something Rotten!

Honestly, State is just one of my favorite experiences and I wouldn't trade it for Hamilton tickets.... (AND THAT IS SAYING SOMETHING) I just love all of the people I get to meet... :)

And as I finish writing this post, I am just so happy to have experienced all of this, and am so happy to know so many more wonderful people!

This was so much fun to write, and I really hope you guys have learned about a new show! I highly suggest them all. I love talking about theatre and I really want to judge competitions at some point!

Love all of you!

- Cody :)


  1. Hello! My name is Amelia Sorensen, and I was Grace Fryer in Radium Girls! I would love to include a link to this article on my website, and quote you! Please let me know If this would be alright with you. I really appreciated your comments!
    Amelia Sorensen

    1. Of course you can, Amelia! Thank you so much for asking first! I still think about your performance every once in awhile. Hope your doing well! :)