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CAPPIES IS GOING VIRTUAL FOR THE 2020-2021 SEASON! SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS.

Applications for the 2020-2021 Cappies season are due by September 22, 2020. All Critic information must be included in the applications.

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The Cappies is a writing and awards program that trains high school theatre and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders. Student critics vie to be published in local media outlets by attending productions at other schools and writing critical reviews.

THROUGH THE CAPPIES

Theatre and journalism students are trained as critics and attend each others shows. Cappies students discuss and learn about theatre production. Throughout the year, newspapers publish the reviews with the students' bylines. At the end of the year, Cappies student critics decide who among their peer performers and technicians should be recognized for awards at the end of the season with glamour and excitement.

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Each participating school selects a show to be attended, and also forms a team of 3 to 9 student critics and 2 adult volunteers in the fall. Shows may have between 20 and 90 critics in attendance. Critic teams and mentors gather in a private discussion room to perform pre, mid, and post show discussions. The technical and performance aspects of the show are discussed with provided documentation from the host school.

After each show, with adult oversight, the mentors and program director select the best written reviews to be sent to local press outlets. All the reviews are also sent back to the performing school.

At the end of the season, a Tonys-like celebration occurs, where all nominated shows perform a cutting or the critics' choice song, and the final Cappies awards are presented with a trophy by regional critics and peers.

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23Nov

Best written reviews for Frankenstein, Episode 1 performed at Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Reviewed on November 20, 2020.

All episodes of Frankenstein are available at

https://www.mvhstheatrearts.com/frankenstein

 

Gabriella Molseed

Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School

 

While Frankenstein is one of the most well-known Halloween villains—green, stitched-together skin; steel neck bolts; thumping gait; sentences closer to groans than words—the original story was much different, as many will tout: “Frankenstein was the doctor, not the monster!” The book inspiring these adaptations is also much more thrilling. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, is the iconic tale of a young man going mad from grief, attempts to reanimate human life, and the trials he underwent as a result of his hubris. Mount Vernon High School’s episodic radio play, Frankenstein, Episode 1, captured both the chilling eeriness of this classic novel, the originator of the science fiction genre, and the clever parallels to Mary Shelley’s own life.

 

Mount Vernon High School’s performance, the first of several podcast-style episodes telling Danielle Molhman’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, danced between a rendition of the promethean tale of Frankenstein and a portrayal of Mary Shelley’s own ghosts haunting her as she writes it. Mount Vernon cleverly took an already poignant stage play and made it more so through their socially distanced radio play.

 

Leading the listeners’ by their emotions throughout the performance, Bridget Snyder (Mary Shelley/The Creature) created a wonderful duality of storyteller and story itself, especially in her portrayal of The Creature: not a separate character but a manifestation of Mary Shelley’s creativity. Quinn Montgomery (Percy Bysshe Shelley/Victor Frankenstein) and Kimani Moore (Henry Clerval) had wonderful chemistry together, despite recording their lines separately, and the production created the image of a clearly intimate friendship that gave heart to the show as a whole. Emma Fisher’s performance as Caroline Frankenstein, the tragic mother of Victor who died of scarlet fever and sparked his quest to reanimate the dead, fairly oozed motherly love and sacrifice.

 

The technical aspects behind the performance cannot be unnoted, for their hard work made the show as spectacular as it was. The sound crew and editing, led by Sound Crew Heads Sebastian Fisher, Caden Mulvey, and Katia Ramirez, for Frankenstein, Episode 1 were standouts in this production. The soundscape of eerie lullabies, a chilling heartbeat, a baby crying, hushed gossip, and moody music set the tone of the show, and the editing of all the vocal tracks together was so near flawless that one might have thought the actors recorded their lines side by side. Additionally, the transitions from the real world to the written world were seamless, adding to the storylines’ mirroring themes and blurring the lines of reality and story. The Assistant Director, Hayleigh Wankowski, led the directing of the scenes between Victor Frankenstein and Henry Clerval, which were some of the most heart touching and poignant of the whole performance. The Publicity Team, made up of Emma Fisher, Catherine Stankewick, Lily Dominguez Castro, and Breyla Rhymes created posters and trailers for each episode of the story, creating intrigue and artfully capturing the vibes of the performance.

 

All in all, Mount Vernon High School’s production of Frankenstein, Episode 1, was truly impressive, especially given the limitations of social distancing. What the show lost in transition from a normal performance format to a radio play, as the show had to do without all visual elements and cues, the cast, crew, and directors more than made up for it in immense creativity and remarkable nuance in their acting ability, sound editing, and brilliant choices. While Victor Frankenstein may have regretted his choice to bring life to what was already dead, Mount Vernon need not regret their reanimation of this chilling tale!


Bethanya Yared

Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School

 

“No one can reanimate that piece of your heart.” This is the line that stuck out most in Episode 1 of Mount Vernon High School’s audio production of Frankenstein. With a mixture of bone-chilling sound effects and passionate voice acting, this production will leave listeners on the edge of their seat with each new episode.

 

In 1818, English author Mary Shelley released her best-selling novel Frankenstein. It follows the character Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist, who creates a living creature through unusual scientific experimentation. This particular production, however, took a spin on this classic story and intertwined the life of Mary Shelley herself with the popular gothic novel.

 

The production began with the death of Mary Shelley’s daughter Clara. Due to this tragedy, Shelley spirals into a depressive episode while her husband Percy proceeds to go about his daily routine. Suddenly, Shelley’s mother (Mary Wollstonecraft) appeared to her and urged her to continue writing her novel. Eventually, Shelley is convinced to continue writing and the production dives into the original plot of Frankenstein. As the story continues, listeners begin to realize how much of Mary Shelley’s life parallels the popular themes of the novel.

 

Through her phenomenal characterization, Bridget Snyder gave listeners an immediate sense that her character Mary Shelley was a cool and calculated artist dedicated to her craft. Both Snyder and Katia Ramirez (Wollstonecraft) played off each other well and established a distinct connection in every scene. Quinn Montgomery (Percy Bysshe Shelley/Victor Frankenstein) had amazing vocal inflection that allowed listeners to picture the character Victor’s slow descent into madness. Especially in the scene where Victor is frantically searching for his mother’s body, Montgomery does an excellent job of depicting the character’s desperation. The dynamic between Montgomery and Kimani Moore (Henry Clerval) showed the loving friendship between their two characters. Emma Fisher portrayed the depth of Caroline Frankenstein’s maternal love, as shown when she panics over her adopted daughter’s illness. Despite the large amount of female characters in the production, Emily Whorley (Elizabeth Lavenza) made her character stand out from the rest with a well-defined innocence that contrasted the other women. Percy Shelley’s party group had a distinct vocal timbre that revealed characters’ lavish lifestyles as well as their adeptness to a life of gossip.

 

The most remarkable aspect of this production was its flawless use of sound. From claps of thunder to baby cries, the sound effects helped establish a “stage” in the listeners’ minds. Even the simplest of sounds one may not think of, such as clinks of glasses or horses neighing in the background, lent itself to the overall image of what the live production would look like. One scene in particular done with intense attention to detail was when Percy Shelley was going to speak to Mary about their child’s passing. Listeners could hear the sound of Percy’s footsteps getting louder as he walked towards her room and softer as he left. This production was unique in its usage of both Mary Shelley’s real life and her fictional world, and through the precise usage of transitions these two storylines mixed effortlessly. Lastly, it’s important to mention the efforts of the Assistant Director Hayleigh Wankowski, who assisted in all the rehearsals and led in directing the scenes between Henry and Victor. One of the many reasons the scenes between those two characters shined so brightly was due to her hard work and dedication.

 

Mount Vernon High School’s production of Frankenstein is one that you won’t want to miss. Make sure to tune in for the rest of the nine-episode series!

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