On Saturday night, 29 students and six coaches from the Thespians of the Western Pacific Islands departed from the Saipan International Airport for the University of Nebraska at Lincoln for the International Thespian Festival. These students and coaches from Grace Christian Academy, Hopwood Junior High School, Marianas High School, and Saipan Southern High School will participate in a weeklong schedule of activities involving the many facets of theatre.
On Tuesday, students compete in their individual events, which are judged competitions.
Performance events include monologue-Mikhail Alcantara (HJHS), Chae Won Hwang (SSHS) and Ageline Sahagun (MHS); duet acting-Angela Cruz/Allexa Go (GCA), and Harold Aranda/ Jorem Guardian (MHS); solo musical theatre-Annabel Manzo (HJHS), and Anna Rose Deleon Guerrero (SSHS); duet mime-Stephanie Lumbad/Mary Jane Pepito (HJHS), and Ray Mark Denora/ Julius Inocencio (SSHS); and group musical theatre-Mary Grace Barro/Darren Cajipo/Lady Dominique Canape/Kelly Demapan/Gemmilie Eugenio/Mariel Ferrer/Mark Gonzales/Rosemarie Liangco/Patrick Llaban/Matthew Lopez/Jennella Nelmida/Rolando Sangalang (MHS).
Technical theatre events include costume design-Hannah Alcordo (MHS); scenic design-Dennis De Guia (MHS); theatre marketing-Yong Jeong Kim (SSHS); and short film-Salvi Villanueva (MHS).
Also on Tuesday and Wednesday, the high school juniors will audition with more than 40 colleges for admission into their programs and seniors will audition for scholarships.
On Wednesday, the students will participate in the Chapter Select Showcase at the Johnny Carson Theatre and present three one-act shows from All in the Timing by David Ives. Specifically, Sure Thing will feature Harold Aranda, Angela Cruz, Allexa Go, Jorem Guardian, Julius Inocencio, Stephanie Lumbad, Annabel Manzo, and Mary Jane Pepito. The Universal Language will be presented by Ray Mark Denora and Ageline Sahagun. Variations on the Death of Trotsky will feature Mikhail Alcantara and Chae Won Hwang. Salvi Villanueva has a cameo role in two of the shows.
On Thursday, the students will participate in the Free Style Theatre at the Johnny Carson Theatre, and present two more one act shows from All in the Timing by David Ives. Words, Words, Words will be presented by Jorem Guardian, Anna Rose Deleon Guerrero and Matthew Lopez. Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread will feature the MHS Rhythm and Harmony musical group.
In addition to the individual events, auditions and performances, the students will watch shows presented by other schools from around the nation, on the main stage Lied Theatre or in the Howell Theatre, or watch other Chapter Select and Free Style productions. They will also have the opportunity to attend numerous workshops on various theatre topics from how to wear a wig to speaking in dialects.
They may even have a chance to meet Thomas Schumacher, a Broadway producer and head of Disney Theatrical Group, who will be presenting a lecture on Monday, and attending the Tuesday production of the Disney show Tarzan at the Lied, as it is introduced to the high school market.
Coaches on this trip will not only supervise the students as they compete, perform and attend shows, but also have the opportunity to attend educators’ symposiums and classes and workshops designed specifically for them. The coaches include Carmalita Ada (HJHS), Jojo Alepuyo (MHS), Ami Joy Danganan (GCA), Paul Dujua (MHS), Wesley Foster (MHS), and Dora B. Miura (SSHS).
The International Thespian Festival occurs once each year and is a great opportunity for students to experience theatre, life on a college campus, and the collaboration and camaraderie of other students from around the world.