High school thespians prepare for districts

Juniors Natasha Mozden and Madison Newcombe will be among the West Shore theater students showcasing their talents at the annual District Thespian Festival at Melbourne and Eau Gallie high schools Saturday.

“Both of us have been doing [high school districts] since ninth grade, but also seventh grade since we did junior districts,” Newcombe said.

District competition holds a variety of events, including solo and group events for students to demonstrate their singing, acting and set-design talents. Students may participate in up to three performing events and two tech events. Participants will perform throughout the day from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

“Starting last year they started doing [the events] in blocks of time, instead of every event having a scheduled time,” Newcombe said. “Your block could be eleven o’ clock, but there are other people performing at that time.”

Mozden said she will be doing a duet, a small group and a large group performance.

“My small group will be the most successful,” Mozden said. “We’re really working day and night, during Power Hours, and literally all of the time. I feel special about that because I am taking a lot of risks with my vocals. and with my acting. It’s something I haven’t done before. So I’m really proud of all of us because we have come so far.”

Newcombe said she will be doing a duet, a small group, a large group and a costume design.

“I’m excited for all of [my events],” Newcombe said. “I’ve been doing costume design for the past three years, and I’m really excited for that one.”

Events are ranked as fair, good, excellent or superior. There is also an award for Best of Show. If a student receives a superior ranking, then that student can bring a total of six acts to state competition in March. Mozden and Newcombe began preparations about two months ago for Saturday’s competition. They said they have rehearsed in a variety of different places in order to prepare for their events.

“It could be anywhere from the auditorium to a classroom during class or at our houses,” Mozden said. “And [we rehearse] in the morning, during Power Hour and after school.”

Mozden said she is working to keep herself in a strong physical and mental state for Saturday.

“I personally am really stressing my vocals,” Mozden said. “You can’t overdo it with your vocals, so you have to do vocal rests but practice is also good. So I’m just taking care of my voice and drinking lots of tea and water and not screaming.”

Newcombe said it is important to not give up on rehearsing.

“Sometimes you tend to think that you have an event [perfected], so then you don’t practice it because you think ‘oh, it’s good,’” Newcombe said. “Then it comes time to perform it, and you’re like ‘yikes.’ So don’t just give up on something because you think it’s good.”

The girls both said they are nervous as competition day approaches.

“Going into Saturday, it’s really stressful,” Newcombe said. “But then once you get there, it’s fun and it’s such a good experience. It’s a bunch of stress and you question why you do this to yourself. And then you get there and you’re sad when it’s over because it’s so much fun.”

The competition will take place at Melbourne High School, with One Act performances and the closing ceremony taking place at Eau Gallie High School.

“It’s stressful getting things together because you’ve put so much pressure on yourself to be perfect,” Mozden said. “But it pays off because that feeling of getting your medals and having everyone around you crying and being happy, it’s really rewarding. And you’re proud of yourself.”

By Sophia Bailly