Members of Leesville Road’s International Thespian Society recently attended the North Carolina Thespian Festival at UNC School of the Arts on March 25 and 26. The festival, which hosted technical theater students and teachers from 25 high schools from all over North Carolina, included one-act play showcases, individual events, workshops, dinner and other activities.
Two of Leesville’s students, Sasha Anistratova and Clara Freeze, placed in individual events at the State Festival and now have the opportunity to compete at the National Festival held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln June 20-25.
Freeze, junior, has been Leesville’s Lighting Designer for the school’s past three productions and co-designer for one. At the Festival, she received a “superior” for her Lighting Design for Leesville’s fall play Blithe Spirit and placed first in the Tech Challenge for the light hang.
Freeze explained the light hang challenge in tech theater lingo: “We had to run up, hang [the light] on a bar, tighten the C-clamp, put on the safety cable, undo the shutters, angle it at the wall and shutter it, gobo it and gel it, and then run back to the line. We had to do it in a certain order, or we would get time penalties.”
Freeze completed the challenge in 1 minute and 45 seconds.
“I didn’t really prepare for it. I just hang a lot of lights,” she said.
For the Lighting Design competition, Freeze was required to select a show and create an imaginary light design (she used the actual Blithe Spirit light design), provide a “light plot,” a diagram that shows which lights go where on stage, and write an essay about her design choices. If she goes to the National Festival, she will bring this same design for competition.
Freeze plans to major in Theatrical Design and Production at either UNC School of the Arts, Elon or UNC-Greensboro.
Anistratova, senior and the Assistant Lights Crew Head for Leesville productions, received second place in the light hang event with a time of 2 minutes and 21 seconds. She also designed the set for an entire play for the Scenic Design event and received “Superiors” from the two Scenic Design judges, making her eligible to compete at the National Festival.
This individual event required Anistratova to build a 3-D model of her design and present it to the judges as well as answer questions about her design. “I started building it in October,” she said, “but the actual building took me about three weeks.”
Anistratova plans to create a 3-D model on a computer for her Scenic Design entry if she attends the National Festival.
In college, she plans to pursue Scenic and Lighting Design.
Both Freeze’s and Anistratova’s favorite part of the experience was meeting other “Techies” from different high schools. “My favorite part was learning about what other students do at their schools and learning different techniques,” said Anistratova. “That’s what I hope to do at the National Festival.”
Their one hindrance from going to Nebraska is the expenses and time crunch. Jeannine Wrayno, Leesville’s Technical Theater teacher, is working on ways to raise the $1990 registration due before spring break. “We’re going to put a donation bucket at the concession stand for Cinderella,” she said. “With the musical, we really don’t have much time at all for fundraisers other than to pay for our flight.”
“Since it is mainly for the benefit of these two girls and me, the responsibility for fundraising is really going to be on our shoulders. We have to make sure the excitement of being invited to Nationals doesn’t distract us from Cinderella, which opens at the end of April as well,” Wrayno said of the possible conflicts.
However, all three are grateful for the experience. “It gave the girls a new appreciation for how lucky we are here at Leesville to have so many resources and such a supportive school environment from administration to teachers,” said Wrayno.