Theatre students attend workshop

Classes springboard work for state contest



Freshman Brock Corbitt works on his sketches for Theatrical Design.

Nicollette Arabie and Lindsey Hardin

Students from Bison Theatre attended a workshop for theatrical design in Caldwell last week, working with a former state judge in hopes of putting together winning entries for the UIL Theatrical Design contest this spring.

Theatrical design is a UIL contest that includes four different categories: costume design, hair and makeup design, set design, and marketing design. Where OAP focuses on the acting and actual production of a show, theatrical design focuses on the planning and backstage work. 

“It was super different from OAP, which I also participate in,” sophomore Gracie Taylor said. “I loved getting to actually design theater elements instead of just working on them like I do in OAP.”

Every year, UIL gives the competitors a prompt that includes a play that they will be producing. Along with that, students are allowed to change the time and setting of the show, as long as it pushes the message of the show. This year’s play is Frankenstein, specifically a version that includes author Mary Shelley as a character in her own play.

“The version we are reading is a super interesting story,” senior Lindsey Hardin said. “The spin of having Mary Shelly present as an actual character in the play makes for great dialogue and complements the creepy vibe of Frankenstein’s world.”

Part of their job for the day was to choose their theme and their overall look for their designs. They were able to choose their one unified design. One group decided to move the setting of Frankenstein to Mexico in the early 1800s, with their Frankenstein’s monster having a Día de Muertos Calavera, or skull mask. On top of that, they were able to finish their marketing poster as well as get rough sketches of their set and costume designs.

“We had barely any concept for what we planned to be our overarching visual theme before the workshop,” junior Ryan Brown said. “Because I am my team’s marketing designer, I decided to have the title in papel picado. With all of the colors and meaning behind our theme, I think our project will turn out to look amazing.”

Before attending the workshop, this team had loose ideas and concepts that they were able to draw out, but the workshop provided direction in choosing their guiding theme from the play and their justification for how their design connected.

“I turned to my teammates during the speaker’s presentation and just commented on the idea of going with a Día de Muertos theme,” junior Luis Ortiz said. “I love that we stuck with Día de Muertos as a theme because our presentation can showcase the bright colors of Día de Muertos and the culture of Mexico.”

Theatrical design is a rigorous contest with many steps required for one entry, including the justification paper, which is a 750- word paper on why the students made the decisions they made. 

“I thought it was super cool and interesting for a UIL event,” junior Alyncia Cumby said. “It really brought out my creativity. I think I am going to compete because it seems fun and I like designing things; it could bring a career for me later on.”

In addition to the teams, several students will be entering individually. Junior Emma Cocking and sophomore Ashtyn Barzda had been working on their entries prior to the workshop and so were able to get a lot done.

“I’ve been really busy up to the workshop, so it was super useful to get all of my stuff laid out,” Cocking said. “Putting my ideas on paper was a big step that I made at the workshop.”