The 57th Otero Arts Festival revived its theatre competition two years ago and is pleased to announce the winners for this year’s contest. Talented young actors in grades 7-12 competed in the Solo Act and or Ensemble Acting competitions last Saturday, April 6 in the Ed Stafford Theatre at Otero Junior College.
The solo acts were limited to three minutes. Participants chose either dramatic or comic subject matter from a published theatrical script.
Ensemble acting groups consisting of two or more actors were limited to a five minute dramatic or comedic published theatrical script.
“Works from other forms such as poetry, fiction, film, video and song lyrics were not permitted,” explained Steve Simpson, OJC director of theater arts, “Since the competition focuses on acting, musical theatre selections were not considered for participation.”
No costumes, theatrical makeup, or hand props were allowed. Participants were allowed only a single chair for a solo act or a table and up to six chairs for group scenes. The intended use of the table was as a table, not as a platform. The actors’ official time began when their first word or action of the scene happened.
Best Actress award was earned by Angel Leija for her moving solo performance about a colored girl who was considering suicide (written by Ntozake Shange) and her participation in the ensemble acting.
Jenn Harsh a senior at La Junta Junior/Senior High School was recipient of the OJC Scholarship for her portrayal of the critic’s wife in New York Actor: The Critic’s Wife by John Guare.
Henry Kelly and Angel Leija’s ensemble performance of Much Ado About Nothing garnered them the High School Best Ensemble award as well as the Best Supporting Actor award for Kelly.
Eight graders from La Junta Jr/Sr High School Rayann Remick and Benjamin Meiklejohn’s performance of Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs earned them the Middle School Best Ensemble award. Remick also earned the Best Character Dialect award for her performance.
Other awards presented during the annual theater competition include:
2nd Place MS Ensemble: Rachel Rodrigues and Mary Jaramillo, Whose Life Is It by Brian Clark; and 3rd Place MS Ensemble: Jazmen LeBert and Shawna Diechman, Breakfast by Norman A. Bert.
Actors participated in some warm up exercises with members of the OJC theater production class. The exercises gave student actors an opportunity to see what types of activities are part of the curriculum in college theater courses. While the judges conferred, participants had the opportunity to do some improvisational acting. What started out as a taxi driver and passenger quickly changed subjects and focus as the students took turns portraying the different characters.
The student actors who competed at the 57th Otero Arts Festival Theater Competition were students of Mrs. Kelly Jo Smith, theater director at La Junta Jr/Sr High School. If you would like to compete in next year’s acting competition contact Debbie Phillips at Debbie.Phillips@ojc.edufor more information.
Photo Caption: The Best Actor award winner was Angel Leija with her moving solo performance For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozske. Leija is a junior at La Junta Jr/Sr High School under theatrical direction by Mrs. Kelly Jo Smith.
Photo Caption: The OJC Theatrical Scholarship recipient at the annual Otero Arts Festival was Jenn Harsh. Her portrayal of the critic’s wife in the playNew York Actor: The Critic’s Wife by John Guare was moving.
Photo Caption: Green Grows The Lilacs written by Lynn Riggs was performed by middle school students Rayann Remich and Benjamin Meiklejohn earning them the award for Best Middle School Ensemble. Remich was also awarded the Best Character Dialect award for her performance.
Photo Caption: The Best High School Ensemble group of Angel Leija and Henry Kelly performed an excerpt from the play Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare. Kelly also was named Best Supporting Actor in an ensemble.