The Bear Truth

ThesCon, the BestCon!

PR%27s+improvising+team+express+themselves+in+a+game+of+%22Crazy+Director.%22
PR's improvising team express themselves in a game of

PR's improvising team express themselves in a game of "Crazy Director."

Photo by Trenton Wesolick

Photo by Trenton Wesolick

PR's improvising team express themselves in a game of "Crazy Director."

By Trenton Wesolick, Cartoonist

Hello Bear Nation, I’ve taken a break from my usual cartooning to ask you some questions: Are you a theatre nerd? Are you considering the dramatic arts for your future? If so, then save this for consideration.

Palmer Ridge’s various art curricula have something to offer for all aspiring artists, and theatre is no exception. Surrounded by three standard acting courses, Improvisation, Theatre Production, and even a course focusing on the works of Shakespeare (albeit classified as English credit), theatre enthusiasts will easily feel at home here on the Ridge. However, these high school lessons can only teach so much, and the threat of class cancellation still lingers due to fluctuating levels of interest among students. Those pursuing the dramatic arts as a career or lifestyle will likely need more. So how does a future Thespian prepare for the years to come?

An enormous intrastate conference should do the trick. Every year, the Colorado Chapter of the International Thespian Society hosts a three-day conference (December 7-9 this year) in Denver designed for the serious theatre student. The Thespian Conference, or ThesCon, offers a plethora of workshops, competitions, and performances specializing in every theatre topic ranging from voice work to stage combat to improvisation. At the end of the first two days, Thespians get a chance to relax and enjoy the ThesCon judges’ picks for high-school performances, as well as awards ceremonies.

Photo by Trenton Wesolick
Presenter Ed Reggi instructs attendants of his workshop on the basics of starting an improvised scene.

One of the conference’s latest events is the Improv Challenge, where students get to take the stage and put their spontaneity and application to the test. “They learn in the moment, on the spot, they’ll learn and adapt on the stage in front of your eyes,” enthuses 7-year ThesCon attendant Brian McManus. The winning team performs in front of all ThesCon attendees at the Colorado Convention Center’s theatre. This year, Evergreen High School’s long-form improv found itself to be the competition’s selection.

Photo by Trenton Wesolick
Palmer Ridge’s talented Thespians enjoy themselves at the Improv Challenge.

Photo by Trenton Wesolick
The winning troupe of the Improv Showdown presents their long-form scene

Perhaps the best opportunity at the conference is to meet new students and teachers who are just as crazy about “Hamilton” or “Dear Evan Hansen” as you are. As put by Tamara L. Meneghini, hostess of a voice workshop and devoted Thespian of nine years: “I love meeting the students . . . none of my workshops are exactly the same because the students are always different.” There is no fear of being deemed a geek, because everyone else is one too!

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