Drama students win big at festival | SierraSun.com

Drama students win big at festival

Renee Shadforth

Drama students from Tahoe Truckee High School cleaned up at this year’s Linaea Festival at Sacramento State University. The students took home five awards from the three-day festival, with participants from all over the West Coast.

“It felt really great,” said Meara Retallack, Truckee High’s drama teacher. “We have quite a reputation down there now, because we are such a small school and we did so well.”

More than 2,000 students, from 60 high schools, competed for accolades in one-act plays, monologues and duets, while drama professionals critiqued the students on their performances.

The students won a the Superior Production award for their presentation of the one-act play, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.” Ben Gaunt and Joe Raso received bronze medals for their acting in the production. Also, Brian Kuttel received an honorable mention for Best Original Monologue and a bronze for Acting in a Monologue.

“It did a lot for our egos. It was so gratifying,” said Cathy Davies, a student at Truckee High. “It was so incredible to be involved in something like [the Lenaea Festival].”

Davies said she went to the festival as someone involved in drama for fun, but she said she enjoyed the professional environment and more serious aspects of the festival.

The Lenaea Festival originated in ancient Greece. In 1955, a professor at Sacramento State brought the program to California to encourage high school students with an interest in theatre. Also, festival organizers encourage students to get involved behind the scenes by writing and producing their own plays.

“It’s a different experience,” said Melissa Brock, a student at Truckee High. “You get to watch other students perform, and see how they are doing. It’s a great way to meet other kids doing the same thing.”

Retallack said she is proud of her students, who were complimented on their behavior as much as their talent. She said she wants to return next year and continue to set the standard for larger schools.

“We’re in a little bubble here in Truckee,” she said. “When we go [to the Lenaea Festival] we get to see other schools and what their students are doing. It’s a great opportunity.”