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Redwood Bark

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Seniors prepare for annual Motherlode production

The senior drama students will take their final bows on April 23, their last moments on the Little Theater stage have taken weeks of rehearsing and performing a play created completely from scratch.

Drama students (from left to right) Ann Slote, Maria Saltveit, Emily Petersen, and Gabriela Manuela rehearse a scene in preparation for the April 23 production.
Drama students (from left to right) Ann Slote, Maria Saltveit, Emily Petersen, and Gabriela Manuela rehearse a scene in preparation for the April 23 production.

The students will perform their final play during Spring Break at the Motherlode Festival in Sutter Creek, Calif, where they will compete against other high school drama programs for a “superior” rating by the judges. Schools that participate in the festival also have the option to perform individual scenes, songs, and monologues.

EPiC students will perform a one act play, which is limited to 35 minutes at the festival.

The one act play is performed and written solely by senior students and directed by drama teacher Britt Block. The completely original play gives students the freedom to create their own work of art under the guidance of Block.

“Usually I decide on some kind of process, some kind of sequence of projects through trying different experiments, different themes,” Block said, noting that the creation of the play is unique to each year of students.

In two and a half weeks, the senior drama students produce a fully developed work. The process is kept secret from other students, including younger students involved in EPiC.

“[It’s important] that they get empowered to develop theater work on their own, that they’re not dependent on a playwright to do good theatre, that they can be the playwright,” Block said.

The students and Block hope to represent their final efforts with their ranking at the Motherlode Festival.

“They all want to get that superior ranking, but just as a validation to all the work they have done,” Block said.

When rated at the festival the Motherlode play will receive either a “good,” an “excellent,” a “superior” ranking, or no award. According to Block, every competing high school could theoretically earn “superior” because the competition is not a battle among high schools, but rather a test of the students’ own ability.

“Because it’s all fourth-year seniors, it really gives students an opportunity to bring the product of their four years in the EPiC program,” Block said.

Although the rating of the one act is important to both students and Block, the culmination of the students’ work in their final is the ultimate achievement.

According to senior drama student Monica Frangoul, the competition aspect is second in importance to the overall experience.

“[Earning “superior”] would just be the cherry on top,”  Frangoul said. “We want to take away the memories and experiences.”

Motherlode opened on April 8 and will return to Redwood for two final shows on Wednesday and Thursday night of the week following Spring Break.

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Isabelle Marmur, Author