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YVHS Theatre Company
Alexander Pope
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For addition information about the opperations of Theatre Co. and its members, please select a topic below.

Theatre Company History
Thespians
Awards
Qualifications for Productions
Preparation for Auditions & Audition Procedures
Casting Policy
Removal Policy
Theatrical Habits


THEATRE COMPANY HISTORY

    Although not formally chartered until two years later, the origins of the YVHS Theatre Company began in 1994 by Mrs. Sharon Kalkoske.  While not a formal student organization, 1995 saw the club’s first production, a successful evening of one-act plays.

    During the following school year, Mr. Robert Montgomery joined the staff of YVHS and, together with Mrs. Kalkoske, co-directed the club’s first full-length production.  Alan Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular was performed to small but appreciative crowds in February, 1996.  Also created during this school year was an early edition of an improvisational comedy troupe.  Named Dog’s Breath Theater, this troupe performed at the high school and also at College of the Desert’s One-Act-a-Thon.

    Prior to the 1995-96 school year, Drama class was limited to a 0-period enrichment class held twice a week.  During the second semester of that school year, however, the first full-fledged Drama class was offered at YVHS.  Taught by Mr. Montgomery, the class focused on improvisation, acting exercises, monologues, and short scenes.

    The YVHS Drama Club was officially chartered at the start of the 1996-97 school year, with a membership of 32 students.  This year saw the arrival of Ms. Kara Martin to the YVHS staff.  Mr. Montgomery and Ms. Martin co-directed A.R. Gurney’s play The Dining Room in November of 1996.  Although not an official club production, members of Mr. Montgomery’s Drama class took the children’s play Larger Than Life to four area elementary schools.  Yucca Valley’s official improvisational comedy troupe, “Shaken, Not Stirred,” was created during the winter of 1997 and had its first performance at the 1997 Rock-Off.  The troupe performed again in the First Annual Spring Play Festival, held in May.  Also on the bill were one-act plays directed by Ms. Martin and Mr. Montgomery.  The year ended with the club’s first awards banquet, designed to honor those students who participated in the year’s productions.

    In 1997, the YVHS Drama Club affiliated itself with the International Thespian Society of Cincinnati, Ohio, and became I.T.S. troupe 5589.  Through this affiliation, the Drama Club members gain greater opportunities to further their interests in theatre through participation in area, state, and international conferences, and through Dramatics magazine, the official magazine of I.T.S.  There were nine charter members.

    The trimester system was introduced at the start of the 1997-98 school year, eliminating the Drama enrichment class, but adding more opportunities for interested students by offering five sections of Drama I and one section of Advanced Drama throughout the course of the year.  A Playwriting class was also created.

    In December of 1997, fifteen Drama Club members attended a performance of the award-winning musical Rent at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles.

    In 1998, the first acting trophies were given by the club.  These awards were established to recognize deserving actors and actresses for their portrayals of characters in the club’s productions.  Also, awards were established for Thespian of the Year, Honor Thespian, and Committee Member of the Year.  For the first time, members of three full-length productions were honored at the program.

    At the start of the 1998-99 school year, Shaken, Not Stirred was invited to perform at the Water Canyon Coffee House.  Three full-length productions were again performed during the year, among them another traveling children’s play.  A.B.C. (America Before Columbus) was performed at four area elementary schools.  At the end of the year, YVHS principal Mr. Douglas Weller purchased new curtains for the club’s performance space on the Multi-Purpose Room stage.

    The 1999-2000 school year proved to be extremely eventful for the Drama Club.  The first official performance was presented by Shaken, Not Stirred during the first week of November.  Later that month, packed houses witnessed The Diary of Anne Frank, and in February the club presented a fast-paced, three-man interpretation of all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays.  Finally, with the arrival of Mr. Bill Barrett as YVHS’ new band director, the Drama Club produced its first ever musical, Little Shop of Horrors, in May.  At the end of the school year, Mr. Montgomery resigned his position at YVHS in order to work on his Master’s degree.

    The 1999-2000 school year was also a busy one in terms of extra trips.  In January, 20 members of the club attended a performance of Les Misérables at the Ahmanson Theater.  Finally, several members of the club traveled with Mr. Montgomery to London, England in June to see two plays and tour such important theatrical landmarks as Stratford-on-Avon and the Globe Theater.

    During the 2001-01 school year, Mr. Barrett took over as Drama Club advisor.  Mr. Robert Knapp directed the fall play, and in February the Drama Club presented a sketch comedy exhibition courtesy of Shaken, Not Stirred, followed by a student-written one-act play.  The spring musical, Grease, was another co-production between the Drama and Music departments, with Mr. Barrett and Mia Griswold, student, sharing the directorial duties.  At the beginning of April, Mr. Montgomery announced that he would return to YVHS during the 2001-02 school year and resume his duties as Drama Club advisor.

    With Mr. Montgomery’s return in the summer of 2001, it was decided that a name change for the club was in order.  The YVHS Drama Club became the YVHS Repertory Theatre Company, thereby more fully reflecting its role as a semi-professional, fully operational theatre troupe.

    Arguably its most successful year yet, 2001-02 saw Theatre Co. present a full season of three shows to packed houses.  Principal Vonda Viland purchased a sound board and microphones for the Performing Arts Department, greatly improving the sound quality in the MPR.  The spring awards ceremony saw two milestones: three Honor Thespians, and a remarkable thirteen inductees into I.T.S.  In February, eighteen members attended a performance of Into the Woods at the Ahmanson Theatre.  Finally, this year also saw the introduction of a Musical Theatre class, which split its time between preparation for the spring musical and the study of American musical theatre.

    Although much of campus life was in flux during the 2002-03 school year (going through three principals in six months), Theatre Co. remained as consistent as ever, producing three shows and inducting a record 15 members into the International Thespian Society.

    The 2003-04 school year was notable for two main reasons: the spring musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, boasted Theatre Company’s first multi-story set, and the spring awards dinner saw 19 new members inducted into the International Thespian Society.



THESPIANS

    The International Thespian Society was formed in 1929 as a means to recognize high school theatre students across the country and internationally.  The international offices are based in Cincinnati, Ohio, although the impact and importance of the organization now reach all corners of the world, attracting as many as 3,000 theatre  students and teachers annually to the International Thespian Festival convened each June.

    Because it is an honorary organization, recognized by all colleges and universities, membership must be earned.  Students qualify by working in all aspects of play production – acting, set construction, stage management, costumes, publicity, etc.  One point represents approximately ten hours of quality work.  Students are eligible for membership upon earning ten points.  Points may also be earned by working in community theatre productions with the prior approval of the troupe sponsor.  Theatre work in other high schools also qualifies, and Thespian membership is transferable from school to school.

    Students at Yucca Valley High School have the opportunity to work on productions throughout the year.  Productions are open to non-Thespian members as well.  Thespian points may also be earned by attendance and participation in regional and state play festivals sponsored by California Thespians, and area, state, and international Thespian conferences.

    Upon earning induction into I.T.S. troupe 5589 (which takes place at the annual awards banquet in June), a student may become a lifetime member of I.T.S. by paying the membership fee.


AWARDS

    Upon earning membership, new Thespians receive a card that indicates eligibility.  Once they have been inducted, students receive a certificate and can earn service stars for each ten points earned past twenty.
   
Theatre Company members can earn different yearly and production awards as outlined in the Theatre Company constitution.
   
At the discretion of the Theatre Company sponsor, up to two Thespian of the Year awards may be given annually.  The recipients are those Thespian members who have done the most for the good of the company during the year in terms of performance, production, and attitude, and the recipients are presented a trophy.
   
Finally, all graduating seniors who have accumulated 60 or more Thespian points will be awarded an Honor Thespian trophy in recognition of their consistent dedication and quality work.
   
Thespian points may be earned in many areas besides acting on stage.  Many students in past years have been invaluable workers backstage and have never appeared in a production.  To recognize these students and to clarify the production staff positions, a detailed description of all available non-acting positions is included later in this handbook.  Students who are not cast are encouraged to continue their interest in theatre by assisting in other areas; there are no nonessential positions in theatre.


QUALIFICATIONS FOR PRODUCTIONS

    Involvement in Theatre Company productions is open to all students at YVHS.  Members of Theatre Company and students enrolled in Acting I or Acting II are highly encouraged to participate actively as cast members or as production committee members.  Students enrolled in Musical Theatre are required to participate in the spring musical in some capacity.  Any non-Theatre Company members who are cast in a production, or who wish to work on a production committee, must first join Theatre Company by paying the required dues.


PREPARATION FOR AUDITIONS & AUDITION PROCEDURES

    1.  The auditions will usually be closed.  Students should report promptly at the designated time.
    2.  Be sure to fill out the audition form that contains basic information about yourself.
    3.  Read the script, if possible, and become familiar with the characters and story line.
    4.  Choose a character that you would like to be considered for and study that character as much as possible.
    5.  Practice becoming that character and develop some believability that you are the character as you deliver his/her lines.
    6.  Be fully prepared to deliver a character’s portrayal from one particular cutting of the script.
    7.  As you audition, you will be considered for the part that you are presenting; however, you will also be considered for every other part, as well.  Your chances of getting a part are not limited to just one part.
    8.  If you wish to be considered for only one particular role and no other, be sure to indicate that on the audition form.
    9.  The director may ask you to pantomime or improvise a scene or activity.
    10.  If you are employed, involved in a sport, or other extra-curricular activity that will be in conflict with the rehearsal schedule, do not audition for a part without informing the director, in advance, of scheduling problems which might arise.  Keep in mind that committee work is much more flexible in scheduling around other activities.  All rehearsals are required and excuses for the above items will not be acceptable.  Excused absences must be arranged with the director at least 24 hours in advance, submitted in writing, and verified by a parent.


CASTING POLICY

    1.  The director analyzes the script and visualizes particular character traits.  He judges the particular demands that the role requires.
    2.  The director constantly reviews the most significant requirements of each role and evaluates the skills and abilities of those who are auditioning.  The director must equate the demands and the supply.
    3.  Casting is done through the procedure of typecasting.  This means that actors/actresses and roles are matched as perfectly as possible.  This also means that the actor/actress has some natural qualities and abilities demanded by the role (height, weight, facial characteristics, etc.).
    4.  Casting by ability is also a good method used in conjunction with typecasting.  An actor/actress is cast in a role because of his/her emotional stability and maturity and his/her abilities to portray a character different from oneself.
    5.  Vocal qualities that may be looked for by the director are tonal qualities, breath support and control, intonation, diction, and rhythmic accuracy.  Vocal qualities of interpretation include tempo, phrasing, expression, and dynamic levels.
    6.  A cast needs to have a variety of vocal qualities and body types.  The element of sameness tends to confuse an audience, making it difficult for the audience to differentiate quickly and accurately between characters.  The same problem arises if two actors have the same vocal qualities.
    7.  For crowd scenes or “walk-on” non-speaking parts, the director wants a variety of body types but avoids extremes.  A walk-on actor must contribute to the scene when s/he enters on the stage.  The walk-on actor role is not a consolation prize, but a real and vital part of the production.
    8.  A director looks for actors who can work comfortably with the other cast members and who will cooperate with the total production staff.  The efficiency and smooth running of the production is of the utmost importance.
    9.  In a regular play, the final casting decision is made by the director.  In the event of a musical, however, the final choice is a joint decision made by the theatre director, musical director, and choreographer.
    10.  No specific written or vocal explanation concerning the decisions of the casting procedure is ever given (although students may ask for general comments regarding their performance in the audition).  The director decides and makes his decisions for the good of the total production.  The director’s choice and decision is final.
    11.  The final casting is not influenced by seniority of the student in the school program.  A student is not cast in a particular role because s/he had a leading role in a previous production.
    12.  A good cast must be a group of individuals who are willing to put aside their own distinct likes and dislikes and develop a unified working ensemble that has, as its chief and ultimate goal, the highest quality theatrical production that can be achieved.


REMOVAL POLICY

A student may be suspended or removed from a production for any of the following reasons:
1.  Failure of attendance (five excused or three unexcused absences)
2.  Excessive lateness (five tardies)
3.  Lack of cooperation
4.    Display of bad attitude
5.    Being placed on probation due to missing three monthly meetings
6.    Other behavior that could be detrimental to the production as described in the YVHS Student Handbook.


THEATRICAL HABITS

    1.  When a time is set for rehearsal, please be prompt.  If you are early, use the spare time for study and practice.
    2.  Carry two sharp pencils and erasers at all rehearsals.  Indicate in the margins of your script all blocking and suggestions that concern your part.
    3.  Be proud of your bit part.  Work at it until it becomes outstanding.
    4.  When the crew needs the stage, keep out of the way.  Stage managers and crew have work to do – and in record time.  Respect them as authorities during final rehearsals and performances.  Be known for your cooperation.
    5.   Wear clothing that is comfortable and allows you to move freely.  This includes footwear; you should not be barefoot onstage at any time unless the director has asked you to be because the part requires it.
6.  Don’t use props offstage for any reason.
    7.  Use your own script.  Don’t borrow.
    8.  While backstage during rehearsals, talk with others only in a whisper.  A whisper doesn’t carry far, but an undertone does.
    9.  Learn to take criticism gratefully and gracefully.
    10.  Become critical of yourself.
    11.  Stand in place for your entrance fully one or more pages ahead of time.  Take the responsibility yourself for being in place.
    12.  Listen and react in character while onstage.
    13.  Keep happy without becoming careless or thoughtless.
    14.  Don’t allow disappointment to get the best of you.
    15.  Speak no lines onstage except your own.
    16.  Make no movement during performances except in character and as previously rehearsed.
    17.  When listening to rehearsals out in front, tell the director if you cannot understand a player’s lines.
    18.  Listen intently to all directions given to other players.
    19.  Don’t try to direct fellow actors.  Leave that to your director.
    20.  Keep your body and mind 100% efficient.
    21.  Help other players memorize lines when they wish your assistance.
    22.  Be patient with those who do not adjust readily to roles.
    23.  Be willing to make your dress and hair style accommodate the character you play.
    24.  Be tactful, tireless, and uncomplaining.
    25.  Continue to desire for improvement.  Correct any thoughts that you are playing better than others, or that this audience won’t know the difference between a good and an inferior performance.  Instead, search to find every way you can improve your acting.
    26.  Become observant.  Notice people’s walk, action, voice, reaction, stance, and mannerisms.  Remember your observations – some of them may prove to be very useful.



Yucca Valley High School Repertory Theatre Company, I.T.S. troupe 5589 established 1997 in association with Yucca Valley High School, Yucca Valley, California and the International Thespian Society.