Archive for the ‘Drama’ Category

Passing a cup during during a team-building activity, drama students learn to work together, which is an important skill for performing. (Photo by Hannah Molino)

Passing a cup during during a team-building activity, drama students learn to work together, which is an important skill for performing. (Photo by Hannah Molino)

By Alissa Baker
Cougar News Blog

     Actors in Lisa Schroeder’s drama class are preparing for the upcoming play being hosted in December.
     Mrs. Schroeder is both an English and drama teacher. Drama is one of the new electives this year, and it seems to have attracted many students. Zack Kinion, one of the members of the class, is really happy about the class but is a little uneasy the auditions.
     “The drama class exceeded my expectations and it was fun,” he said. “I am really excited for the upcoming play, but I’m nervous for the tryouts.”
     Students in the class and after-school club will be performing “Murder at Rundown Abby,” which is a spoof of the BBC and PBS show “Downton Abby.”
     Mrs. Schroeder claims that theater helps her students learn team work, gain self-confidence, and learn leadership skills.
     It wasn’t Mrs. Schroeder’s plan to become a drama teacher, but she said she did perform when she was a student.
     “As I built my family I began to teach acting classes for the stage and screen, along with special effects, makeup, costume and set design, and ballroom dancing for musical theater,” she said. “I am pleased with my outcome and I am glad to watch others reach their goals. It is rewarding to see the transformation.”
     The class spends most of the time playing trust and teamwork games, working on vocal and dancing exercises, and reading script. At home, students look up hair, makeup, and clothes from the 1920s, since that’s what time “Abby” takes place. Many of the young actors are happy that the play revolves around a murder mystery.
     “I personally like the concept of Rundown Abby the most,” said eighth grader Kyra Garrett. “The idea of the 1920s is very interesting.”
     “Murder at Rundown Abby” will be performed in December at Apache Junction High School.

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(Photo by Makenzie Myers)

(Photo by Makenzie Myers)

By Zoey Lopez
Cougar News Blog

     Drama students have been improving their acting skills with some drama improv at Cactus Canyon. They have been using props, acting on the spot, going up in front of the class, and acting out scenes and monologues. Paige Reesor, the drama teacher, uses games from the TV show “Whose Line is it Anyways” and turns them into acting exercises to help students get better.
     “Scenes from a hat” is an exercise Ms. Reesor uses. It’s where the class writes down different scenarios on a piece of paper, and Ms. Reesor puts them in a hat. She draws one piece of paper and chooses a student to act it out. It is one of the class’ favorites because they are able to contribute all of their ideas.
     “I do enjoy acting in front of the class because it helps me get better,” says Angel Meeks.
     When the students first get in class, each day Ms. Reesor calls out an emotion and everyone must do it right on the spot. For example, if Ms. Reesor yelled out the word “sad” everyone in the class would have to act sad. She also does props which is a little bit harder to do. The point of the exercise is to take the prop and do anything creative with it. “If a student is good enough,” the class will be able to guess what he or she is acting.
     Most students get nervous and scared to get up in front of the class and show their true selves, but others go and take risks. They think its OK to be goofy and Ms. Reesor encourages her students to be loud and energetic. The scripts don’t let them act like themselves because they are just reading a part that’s given to them. When the students are doing improv they have to get their mind going and think outside the box to get their classmates to laugh at them.
     “I learn how to act, but most of all I learn how to be myself,” says Kara O’connor.
     Most kids chose drama for the fun but others chose it to be more outgoing. There are millions of exercises they do.
     “I try to demonstrate as a teacher…what it means to be energetic and loud,” said Ms. Reesor. “I let them know its OK to be goofy in my class.”

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Kathy G.
Cougar News Blog

Drew Carey made Who’s Line is it Anyway famous for millions American TV viewers, but Paige Reesor has made it famous for Cactus Canyon drama students.
Drama teacher Ms. Reesor was teaching her students improvisation. Improv is where students are acting on the spot without a script. For example, Ms. Reesor would tell a student a partial scenario, and the student would interpret it in his or her own way and act it out in front of the class.
The whole idea for the students watching Who’s Line is it Anyway was so they got a good understanding of improv. The performers on the show are professionals who are very creative and can think on the spot. Plus, the show has segments like Questions Only, Props, and Weird Newscaster that Ms. Reesor turned into games for the class.
“I wanted to pick improv games that would be fun for my students. Improv and comedy go well together and I wanted something my students could laugh at,” said Ms. Reesor. “Improv games help students become more comfortable with public speaking and performing in front of an audience.”
A lot of students mentioned on how enjoyable, fun, and creative the lessons and games were. They said they got a lot more courage and knowledge out of it.
One of the students, eighth grader Issabelle Ramp, said, “I really enjoyed the games. Ms. Reesor made them fun, (educational), and where you can hang out with your friends while doing it.”
Ms. Reesor tried plan a unit the students would get something out of and that is exactly what they did.
“I watched my students become more creative and not afraid to perform in front of the class,” she said.

By Bobby Bauders and Carsyn Ainsworth
Cougar News Blog

Cactus Canyon eighth grader Morgan Langdon aspires one day to be a Broadway actress.
Langdon appeared in the school production “Oz Monologues” as Dorothy, and said it was her mother who inspired her to begin acting.
“She was so committed every day, and that taught me to be committed to acting,” Langdon said about her mother.
If Langdon continues on her acting path, she hopes to appear in Broadway shows in New York.
“I want to be on Broadway someday because acting is one of my greatest passions,” Langdon said.
Langdon practiced for hours to perform in the school play. She’s been acting since first grade and said drama is her favorite class.
“I was in drama last year, which was the best class ever,” Langdon said.
Langdon aims to be in drama all throughout high school and hopes it will lead to a career in acting.
“I want to be a really successful actress because I love acting,” Langdon.
Drama teacher Tina Harshman said that Langdon did great on stage and that she was chosen as Dorothy because she was up to the challenge of memorizing a lot of lines and long monologues.
“As for her talent, she is good at developing characters and projects well on stage,” said Harshman.

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By Bobby Bauders
Cougar News Blog

The drama classes put on the two performances of the, ‘Oz Monologues’ on the first week of December.
The first hour class performed on Wednesday, Dec. 5, and second hour performed the following day. The plays were behind the scenes look at what “really happened” in “The Wizard of Oz.”
“Both performances went quite well,” said drama teacher Kristina Harshman. “The actors did great with their lines.”
Many of the actors felt accomplished after having a successful performance.
“I feel good knowing that I did a really good job,” said eighth grader, Raychel Jimenez.
It took close to a month to prepare for the performances. The actors worked on projecting their voices, and memorizing their lines.
“The hardest thing was getting all the parts memorized,” said eighth grader Morgan Langdon. “I had to improvise many times.”
Feeling accomplished, many of the actors hope to have a professional acting career in the future.
“An acting career would be an option because I’ve been on the stage since I was five years old,” Langdon said.
Those in attendance said they enjoyed what they saw.
“I loved the play,” said assistant principal Joyce Gingrich.
The cost was $2 for students, $3 for adults and the money made from the shows will go to future productions.

By Bobby Bauders
Cougar News Blog

The drama classes are putting on a performance called, “The Oz Monologues” by Willis Chism. First hour’s performance will be at 6 p.m. on Dec. 5. and second hour’s will be the 6th at the same time.
It’s a behind-the-scenes look at The Wizard of Oz and reveals what really happened when Dorothy landed in Oz, as well as the truth about the slippers.
“I always find that comedy is the best choice for this age group,” said drama teacher Kristina Harshman.
The drama classes spent almost a month working on play during class. Even though there is no stage at Cactus Canyon, students work on blocking, annunciation, projection, and memorizing.
Students auditioned and wrote an essay about why they wanted a certain part.
“I have worked hard to memorize my line and get in character,” said eighth grader Calysta Harshman, who has the part of the Cowardly Lion in the first-hour performance.
The classes will continue to prepare till showtime in December.
Mrs. Harshman said she’s happy with the way the show is coming together and that those in attendance will be highly entertained. Both performances will be at the AJHS PAC. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for students.
“Come see the show,” Mrs. Harshman said.


By Sammi Sobel
Staff writer

The drama students at Cactus Canyon are getting prepared to perform the spring play at the Apache Junction High School’s PAC. About 20 young actors will be performing at 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, May 10-11.
The Spring Play is titled “Wingin’ It” and is being directed by drama teacher Tina Harshman. Harshman said she chose the play because she had directed at Thunder Mountain Middle School in 2008. She said it was one of the favorite plays of the audiences and she had thought it would be a good one for the group that she has this year at CCJH.
Eighth grader Julia Valgento, who hasn’t been in a major school production before, will be playing the part of the narrator.
“I think my character has some humorous lines, I hope that my character has the ability to connect with the audience and make them laugh,” said Valgento.
Valgento said she practices at least an hour with the rest of the cast after school, but at home she has practiced hours more. She said only has about 15 lines, but they are fairly long- ranging.
“(My lines) range anywhere from three sentences to multiple paragraphs,” she said. “I just try to read over the lines as much as possible, then I record my lines and play the (recording) back at myself so I know how I am saying them.”
Valgento said she thinks this play is a wonderful experience for her and that Mrs. Harshman is an amazing instructor who has really put effort into making this play a success.
“It takes consistency and dedication on the parts of the kids to memorize their lines and come to practice every day,” said Mrs. Harshman.
Tickets for “Wingin’ It” by Stephen Murray are $4 for adults and $2 for students. Kids under 5 are admitted free of charge.

Master of masks visits CCJH

Posted: December 9, 2011 in Art, Drama, Electives

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By Layla Heninger
Staff writer

Drama and art students had an opportunity to participate in a mask residency program on Nov. 21 when Rob Faust visited Cactus Canyon.
Faust is a performer who makes his own masks. He uses the masks to demonstrate how actors can use body language to convey an idea, emotion or action to the audience.
The art students learned about the use and design of masks, and how emotions captured from the masks. The drama students learned about how to use body language interactions and how emotions can be seen through body language.
“The kids really seemed to like the show,” said Mrs. Harshman.
Mrs. Harshman said the Gold Canyon Art Council to bring the art mast residency to CCJH. She plans to do more things like this one.
Students said they enjoyed the show and appreciated that it was directed specifically at students of the arts. And it didn’t hurt that it was funny.
“The show was hilarious,” said eighth grader Autumn Miller.

Drama students to perform tonight

Posted: December 7, 2011 in Drama, Electives

By Kelsey Martinez
Staff writer

At 6 p.m. tonight, the Cactus Canyon Junior High drama students will put on the second performance of their fall play at the Performing Arts Center at Apache Junction’s High School.
Last night, students performed for families, friends, and others who came to see the play. Although the play is technically free to attend, the drama department has asked for a donation of a canned food item for Project Help. The group will also accept cash donations for the drama department.
They actors will perform two plays called “Midsummer’s Feast” and “Perception,” plus three other different scenes known as “Train Station,” “The Forgetful Fairy,” and the “Evil People.” Several of the acts and scenes were put together and will be directed by the students themselves.
Since the performance is several scenes, rather than one long play, the characters vary. This allows more students to have parts.
“Probably the biggest part with the most lines would be the part of the English
translator, Hippolyta, in ‘A Midsummer’s Feast,’” said drama teacher Kristina Harshman, who wrote “The Forgetful Fairy.” “Tuesday night the part (was) played by Victoria Prunty and Wednesday it will be played by Teagan O’Reilly. The part is spoken in kind of a Shakespearean English style, so it is pretty difficult to memorize, and the two young ladies have done a great job.”
In the past several months the actors have done a lot of vocal work, trying to speak more loudly and clearly. They had to do a lot of teamwork and solve some of the natural problems that come along with working with others. Students get to learn from actual experience to project, interact, communicate with an audience when on a live stage.
“They get a chance to be super nervous,” said Mrs. Harshman.
Despite their nerves, Mrs. Harshaman said student have been looking forward to taking the stage.
“I was so excited about the play because we all got to be on stage and show off our hard work,” said eighth grader Jordan Golemon.
Students tried out with monologues they wrote, and wrote Mrs. Harshman a paragraph to explain what goals they had for this project would help them achieve.
The following play will be next semester and the tryouts will be in the spring.