For those who are considering attending Cedar Ridge High School’s theater performance of Iphigenia 2.0, on Oct. 30, Evan Mitchell would point out that it’s unlike any show the school has ever performed in the past.
The Cedar Ridge Theatre Arts Director, who is in his third year teaching at the high school, decided that his current group of students was so talented that he would “strike while the iron’s hot” and choose a show that is both more challenging, yet very entertaining, and one he believes will have the audience engaged and unarmed throughout the 45-minute performance.
The Greek tragedy and comedy, written by Charles Mee, is a contemporary adaptation of another Greek tragedy that took place before the Trojan War that has soldiers unwilling to go to war until their leader sacrifices his daughter before the war.
Practice for the show started a week or two into the school year, and since that time, Mitchell has seen plenty of growth from his students as they learn to master the acting moments, and various movements such as traditional Greek dancing, Jackson five dancing, hip hop dancing and Disney Princess dancing.
“That’s my favorite part of the process, which is why I became a theater teacher is because I enjoy the process and the discovery in rehearsal way more than the performance of any show,” Mitchell said. “Performances are just stressful to me but with my kids it’s like we’re really getting to a place now where they’re starting, now that they’re comfortable with their lines, they’re starting to see really clear choices about who their characters are, which then gets a response from the other actors on stage and it’s always great when one of the kids walks off and the other ones were like, ‘Oh my gosh, I really believed it was you.’ It’s really starting to come together, which is exciting.”
But not only are the students diligently practicing to perform in front of family, friends and faculty. They will also travel to Catawba College in the first weekend of November to compete at the NCTC High School Play Festival, a decades old event in North Carolina.
The students are competing against 15 other schools to earn one of two spots to advance to the State festival at Greensboro College the third weekend in November.
Once the NCTC festival ends, awards will be handed out for best acting, best set design, and best ensemble. Each show must be 45 minutes in length, a time that includes setting up the stage and taking down props at the end of the performance.
But the students are not preoccupied with concentrating solely on the regional festival. Instead, they are learning to refine their roles for the upcoming show at Cedar Ridge, which is just under two weeks away.
“At this point in rehearsal we’ve just been working on characters and getting the story told really well,” Mitchell said. “In a week and a half, we’ll start putting it together with set and costumes and begin focusing on it in other aspects.”