Florida Thespians

By Roxana Margelu, Alexandra Margelu, and Breanna Wells
DEC. 11, 2020

Florida Thespians is an educational theatre association affiliate which provides middle and high school students an opportunity to compete at district and state competitions every year. However, due to the ongoing pandemic of Covid-19, like many other activities, it has been required to conform to our current circumstances. Thus, many Saint Thomas Aquinas students have virtually sent out videos of their competition pieces, following Florida Thespians restrictions and revamped guidelines.

STA student, Alexandra Leon, a long-time participant in this competition, was interviewed by the Raider Review. Leon was asked about her experiences in preparing for this well-known competition and claimed, “Virtually preparing a large ensemble compared to real life has its limitations and its advantages. Normally, preparing the ensemble in the same space, with the same people, and in real time is much more fluid. Movements and speech can be coordinated quickly, and there is a more enhanced way in coordinating vocals and motor movement when you can see other actors in the same vicinity as yourself.” Due to the demand of perfect and on time fluidity of the required movement, speech, and vocals in her ensemble piece, Leon did experience certain struggles.

Alex and her fellow ensemble members performed a difficult scene “It’s Hot Up Here”, from the musical, Sunday in the Park with George. When asked about her struggles with this scene, She stated, “Rehearsing virtually is more rigid than this. Audio may lag when actors sing their parts on a Zoom call, and there is less interaction between members as a result of the primary solution to this challenge- editing. In my experience, my classmates and I have been individually preparing videos of us singing our own parts, and those video clips are edited to create an end-product that is very close to the real thing- which is amazing.” Regardless of these negatives, Alex and her ensemble members took advantage of their situation to the best of their abilities. According to Alex, “An advantage of virtual ensemble preparation is a more individualized focus between teacher and student in this process.” Individually, each student worked diligently on parts and lines, preparing each part of this scene to “be worthy enough for states.” with the coveted “Superior” score that would allow the piece to advance to the state competition.”

Overall, Saint Thomas Aquinas’ scored exceptionally well in this regional virtual competition. Out of 20 submitted pieces for adjudication, 10 pieces scored Superior, 8 scored Excellent, and 2 scored Good. Student, Liana Genao, received Top Honors for her Solo Musical Theater performance of “Pretty Funny” from Dogfight and 12 pieces will move on to States.

“Each student worked diligently on parts and lines, preparing each part of this scene to ‘be worthy enough for states.’” 
L-R  Top: Monet Chisholm, Celeste Estrada, Robert “Mason” Messingschlager, Samantha “Sammy” Strassel, Celeste Estrada
2nd Row: Sydney Beja, Alexandra Leon
3rd Row: Alexander Mayer
Bottom: Javier Vinuela, Deanna Wallace, Morgan Gold, Alessandro Richter, Sophia Janssens