BY RUTH RICE

RRICE@TRIBDEM.COM

Students from Westmont Hilltop and Bishop Carroll high schools will compete in the Pennsylvania High School Speech League’s drama festival on Saturday at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Snyder County.

Bruce Standley, drama adviser at Bishop Carroll for four years, said any school belonging to the Pennsylvania High School Speech League can participate.

The two local schools qualified by placing in the top two at regional competition. Westmont qualified in the western division and Bishop Carroll in the central division.

Other qualifying schools are Aliquippa, Beaver County; Shikellamy, Northumberland County; Towanda, Bradford County; and Scranton, Lackawanna County.

Students will present a one-act play at the state competition.

“The same show you qualified with is judged at the state level,” Standley said.

“We’ll be doing ‘Check Please,’ an all-out stupid farce. We thought we’d do something stupid and see if the judges approve.”

Six students will portray characters on blind dates.

Cast members are Jeff Luksik, Claire Houser, Ross Peduzzi, Nora Standley, Nick Barber and Devon Ingold.

Because a play in competition must have been performed before a paying audience, the Bishop Carroll students put on the play in November.

“Check Please” doesn’t have many technical aspects, so Standley’s crew won’t have to take advantage of Friday’s tech day at Susquehanna.

“The tech day is to set up and get a feel for the stage,” he said.

Serious, hard drama has won in the past, which is what Bishop Carroll tried last year, that drama department’s first year in competition.

In contrast, Westmont did a comedy last year and this year will present the drama “The Metamorphosis,” a theatrical adaptation of a short story by Franz Kafka.

Westmont drama director Jackie Young has 12 students: 10 performers, a student director and one on lighting.

“I have a young cast,” Young said. “Three are seniors, and the rest are 10th and 11th graders.”

Young said her group will take advantage of tech day because they have some technical aspects to work out.

“They give you 40 minutes Friday night to work on light and sound, anything behind the scenes,” Young said. “We have special effects with strobe lights and scrim.”

Scrim is an open-weave fabric used in theater as a backdrop or border.

Young’s students performed “The Metamorphosis” for a series of one-act plays at the high school in October.

The play features John Livingston, Chelsea Meenan, Alyse Carpenter, Alex Policicchio, Nick Kirkstadt, Marianna Campagna, Samantha Johns, Mike Varga, Zach Evans and Anthony Berardi.

The student director is Samantha Hippler. Kelsey Landis will handle lighting.

Plays in competition must be at least 20 minutes long and no more than 40.

Five judges will rate the six performances on acting ability, how well each play was presented, and if the actors stayed in character and vocalization.

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