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Draper Journal

Corner Canyon theatre students gain appreciation during pandemic year

May 03, 2021 12:34PM ● By Julie Slama

The cast of “Children of the Black Skirt” finished second in region with best ensemble and best tech crew. (Photo courtesy of Virginia Rogers)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Corner Canyon High School thespians are learning gratitude this year, according to their drama teacher.

“It’s been the hardest year ever in theater and education,” said Phaidra Atkinson, who teaches Corner Canyon High theater classes and directs the school’s productions. “It’s difficult to teach how to be expressive with a mask covering faces; it’s hard to know what to do and how to do it with the uncertainty of the pandemic, but through it all, our students are learning to be grateful that we can rehearse, and they can do hard things under the circumstances.”

This includes putting on their production of “Matilda,” which, with several school closures because of high COVID-19 case counts, was held in late February.

“It turned out great, but we had to shut things down as 80% of our cast tested positive (for COVID-19). It was crazy and just spread like wildfire throughout our cast. Almost every person had two weeks of quarantine and we had to redo the tickets as we had sold out nightly. When we go back, we just picked it up without a dress rehearsal and just went for it,” she said.

They had just one week before they put together “Children of the Black Skirt,” which was the play about an abandoned orphanage and those who lived there in the Australian bush. The cast performed it at the regional competition, placing second.

Also at region, they were named the best ensemble and best tech crew and placed third overall. The entire team was expected to compete at state April 22-24, including four students with perfect scores: Lauren Carn in dramatic monologue, Ian Colton in humorous monologue, and Noah Garcia and Willow Rosenberg in contemporary scenes.

Other students who are advancing in state are: Grayce Alstrom, Jacqueline Clegg, Sam Free, Alyssa Miller, Rachel May, Linda Vogel, Emma Haynie and Katia Jensen in pantomime; Aidan Hughes, Emma Bodell, Maggie McDowell, Nia Peterson, Kathryn Solum, Jackson Gray, Ellie Harris and Luke Allen in classical scene; Mason Hughes, Sophia Abbott and Brooklynn Jeppesen, in dramatic monologue;  Brianna Frehner, Ashlyn Atkisson, Isaak Remund, Sydney Rudel, Eli Weaver and Ariel Harp in musical theatre: Spencer Croston, Creed Gardiner and Kaiden Abaroa in humorous monologue; Eve Candell, Siena Crivac, Liz Vance, Caden Fairbourn, Juanita Lopez, Mason Miller and Lauren Dunn, in contemporary scene.

Corner Canyon will put on its season’s final show, “Bright Star,” a musical written and composed by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, set in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the 1940s, with flashbacks to 1923.

“We have the right kids for it. It’s very honest and the production is just beautiful and real,” Atkinson said. “Our kids will take on the choreography and it will allow our seniors to have their moment on stage.”

The show will be at 7 p.m., May 12-15 in Corner Canyon’s auditorium, 12943 S. 700 East. Tickets will be available at Patrons will follow the school’s mask mandate and patrons will be seated socially distanced.

“It’s been a lesson in endurance, but we are even more appreciative for what we’re able to do,” Atkinson said.