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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.

Need more information? Please contact AdminNCA@cappies.com.

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FOCUS ON 21st CENTURY LEARNING

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.

HOW IT ALL WORKS

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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AWARDS PREVIOUS SEASON

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28Feb

Best written reviews for "Life Finds a Way" performed at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Virginia. Reviewed on February 26, 2021.

The Robinson Cappies show is in two parts which can be seen at:

https://youtu.be/porTgPo_x0A

https://youtu.be/w8Jr9z9Hf5w

 

Beverly D’Andrea

Westfield High School

 

One may think that the consumption of hapless guests by vicious dinosaurs would be an urgent issue. But in Robinson Secondary School's modern day Jurassic Park it's a common occurrence.  With her plastic smile and grotesquely over- enthusiastic demeanor, the loss of life in the newly reopened park is a matter of course for the CEO. And for the grubby park-hand it's just "the new (at times comical) normal". Sound familiar? Robinson Secondary School's witty satirization of the current pandemic climate unmasked (pun intended) many of the issues being grappled with nationally as the students tunneled deep into the habits of COVID-19 life.

 

The piece was developed with the goal of finding theatre from "non-traditional sources" and it definitely hit its mark. The piece is centered around the juxtaposition of two polar opposite views, a money-grubbing CEO and an average joe who seems perfectly at home in the deadly park. This contrast creates duality within the show, by first seeing the curated, sanitized account of the dangers and preventative measures the CEO tells us, then later experiencing the gritty, if humorous, reality the park worker shows us.

 

The CEO, called Dianna Soerre in reference to the prehistoric animal off which she makes her money, was played by Abigail Camp. Camp's, well, campness as the CEO was shown through her exaggeratedly happy facial expressions and large movements when discussing something particularly heartless, such as comparing the flying limbs of her employees to juggling pins. The dissonance between the horrendous words coming out of her mouth and the chipper way she said them was cleverly cultivated by Camp to show that the CEO's character had no moral character; she was willing to sacrifice lives to make money.

 

On the opposite end of the spectrum was the park staffer, called Tracy Cerato, who was played by Katherine "KP" Porter. Whether she was walking through the woods or narrating her experiences from under a blanket, Porter gave the character a haphazard edge that was infused with the innocence of a woman simply living her life in crazy times. The fun segments from Porter's section were full of physicality, with her face and body used to show the mayhem experienced by the park staff. Porter's sense of comedic timing was always velociraptor-keen, as she narrated the grisly events at the park with glee. Porter was able to capture the essence of a real life TikTokkers' quarantine videos in her performance so that her cackling over having to floss a guest out of a dino's teeth somehow became relatable.

 

To truly immerse an audience in the pandemic-onium (that's a stretch) of this virtual show the technical elements worked to subtly enhance the action. The sound cues (by Beau Baldassari) were played throughout the CEO's opening speech, so that amid assurances of order and safety the faint sounds of screams and roars hinted, with all the subtlety of a charging t-rex, at the lies being spewed.  The sets (by Brooke Hanser, Harry Glicklin, and Katherine "KP" Porter) added to the reality of the TikTok videos through the use of green screens and real locations. Switching between the two gave more life to the scenes and added to the feeling that at some point the abundant absurdity became normal, such as ordering goat meat in bulk from Costco.

 

Through comedy, duality, and dinosaurs Robinson Secondary School created an astute look at our own world and proved that life does always find a way.


Isabella Jackson

Fairfax High School

 

What do TikTok, dinosaurs, and an iconic franchise have in common? A wonderfully crafted show from Robinson Secondary School.

 

"Life Finds A Way" was a satirical comedy that brought to light our current social issues while giving homage to the classic franchise that many know and love, Jurassic Park. With a small cast of only two (appearing on screen), the 2-part, 15-minute play, explored the perspective of a quippy CEO striving to keep her amusement park afloat, and a rather chaotic employee of Jurassic Park trying to survive the trials and tribulations of her job. The first part titled "Sure the Velociraptors are still on the loose…"  began with our CEO Dianna Soerre, played by Abigail Camp, presenting her reopening plans for Jurassic Park despite the velociraptors running rampant.

 

Camp's portrayal of a CEO was very realistic as she kept an even and sometimes condescending tone although she was presenting real issues to her board of investors. As the almost seven-minute monologue continued, clever lines that mentioned "masking your scent" and "staying in safe zones" quickly alerted audiences of the parallels between the comedy and COVID-19. Even when saying phrases like, "even though the velociraptors are still on the loose, we will be opening Jurassic Park back up to the public", Camp's eerily cheery tone was very comedic in contrast to what she was verbalizing. Though many would find it difficult to hold the attention of an audience with a monologue of that length, Camp seemed to do so effortlessly. The second half, "Jurassic Park Updates" explored a new and daring format, TikTok, to convey the perspective of a park staff member. Tracy Cerato, played by Katherine "KP" Porter, was an ecstatic and oblivious employee of Jurassic Park. She used TikTok to update park guests, talk about different shenanigans, and document her rather chaotic working experience. The combination of TikTok as a medium and Porter's invigorating performance was a perfect way for audiences to feel immersed in the universe this show created. Porter's portrayal of the lower-level worker was very impressive, as she made these dire situations seem realistic.

 

The technical aspects of the show must be mentioned, as they completely tied the piece together. Costumes by Harry Glicklin and makeup by Abigail Camp did a wonderful job of furthering the contrast of the characters. The CEO was very well dressed with professional makeup whereas the park employee - dressed in a Jurassic Park uniform - was often seen looking disheveled with dirt and cuts on her face. The well thought out sound design by Beau Baldassari and the green screen and filming work by Brooke Hanser, Harry Glicklin, and Katherine "KP" Porter furthered the comedic aspects of the piece. Additionally, there were notable details in every scene that made this show feel polished. Whether it was the fact that the employee's username was the password to the main gate, or that the CEO's name vaguely sounds like "dinosaur", all the details furthered the idea that Life Finds A Way was an extremely inspired show.

 

With a rehearsal and editing process that clocked in at only 6 days, Life Finds A Way is an impressive and hilarious piece from Robinson Secondary School. Between using multiple platforms, and having playful writing, this show used irony and pure comedy to reflect on how our society functions today. At only 15 minutes, this production left you wanting more and wondering what amazing things Robinson will produce next.

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