Crossroads Students Awarded in Shakespeare Theater Festival
In this year’s Festival, Crossroads students received six awards for performances in group, monologue and set design categories.
For the first time since the start of the pandemic, Crossroads students attended the annual theater festival hosted by the Drama Teachers Association of Southern California (DTASC) in person—a welcome change after last year’s competition was held on Zoom. Students looked forward to the opportunity to perform together among their peers from rivaling schools. The DTASC Festival, which hosted 29 schools this year, primarily focuses on Shakespearian works. It fosters a healthy sense of competition in young theater students and is a unique opportunity for the thespians to meet peers who also perform.
“It’s really nice, because we get out of our bubble,” said Crossroads’ theater teacher Zoey Zimmerman. “We meet kids from all over and from a variety of socioeconomic communities, so I really like that aspect of it.”
Zoey, who has taught at the School for 24 years, coached Crossroads students through DTASC preparation, an intensive process that took place over the course of several weeks. While the Festival provides an opportunity for students to showcase their acting and potentially win awards, Zoey sees the real value as learning how to show up for others. “The more important lesson, I hope, is how much winning doesn’t really matter. Did you tell your story? Did you commit to the work? Are you there for your partners and the DTASC community? Did you show up?”
One of the most rewarding moments from the day was seeing Crossroads students rush to congratulate performers from other schools as they exited the stage. The team-building aspect of the Festival was also evident in the rehearsal process, where students reacted to the emotions of their scene partners and used movement as an expression of their characters. In rehearsals, eighth grader Dash Kemper examined his scene from multiple perspectives while considering the deeper meaning behind Shakespeare’s challenging prose. “I learned more about acting and how characters can have multiple sides …” said Kemper. “You think about what the character is thinking while they’re saying what they’re saying.”
This depth of intellectual and emotional understanding deeply resonated with the DTASC judges, who awarded the School with prizes in six different categories:
In the Monologue category, seventh grader Deneya Ahmed won first place for her performances from “Henry IV, Part 2” and “Two Gentlemen of Verona.”
In the Open Tragedy category, eighth graders Chloe Alimento-Miller, Emma Beccera and Mati Fuchs Lynch tied with another school for first place for their performance of “Hamlet."
In the Open History category, seventh graders Cosmo Brunner, Leo Rao and Owen Way won third place for their scene from “Richard III.”
In the Large Group Tragedy category, sixth graders Hannah, Elyse Barry and Samantha Leeds and eighth grader Dash Kemper received first place for their scene from “Romeo and Juliet.”
In the Varsity Open Tragedy category, 11th graders Mila Levit, Evie Kissinger and Jack Oshinsky won third place for their scene from “Macbeth.”
In addition, DTASC holds a competition for technical categories including Set Design, Lighting Design, Graphics, Character Costume and Court Costume. In the Varsity Set Design category, 11th grader, Yvonne Lou won third place for her design for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”