What is happening at SVGS? – Theater 2014-15


Introduction to Theatre

The juniors have been reading major dramatic works throughout theatre history: The Bald Soprano, Antigone, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, The Importance of Being Earnest, and A Doll’s House. They’ve been studying the social conventions and history surrounding each piece and have been able to draw some fun, creative connections to their own life experiences through creative writing, collages, a Victorian tea party, and even Twitter. Next semester, they’ll begin the dual enrollment portion of this class with guest instructor Mary Evans Lott.

 Victorian Group1

Drama Theory & Criticism

The seniors have followed the evolution of drama from the Ancient Greeks through Realism by reading and analyzing works from each major period and studying the historical context of each piece. They are also completed a three-part project that involved reinterpreting a major classic work that they read and analyzed outside of class and creating their own short film reinterpretations of these plays. Next semester, they’ll move into modified realism and Modern American drama, studying the works of playwrights such as Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller.

Acting I

The first-year acting students have been studying the building blocks of acting – imagination & creativity, focus & concentration, communication, improvisation, and body & voice. They recently worked in groups to create performance interpretations of poetry pieces and then turned their focus to their exam monologues. Earlier in the year, they had a visit from Mary Baldwin’s Rogue Shakespeare acting company, who performed their version of Macbeth and conducted an unarmed stage combat workshop with the juniors. Next semester, they’ll turn their focus to actions and objectives, character analysis, and scene study.


Acting II

In the second year of studio, our performers have been using Michael Shurtleff’s Audition as a guide (a common college text often referred to as the Bible for working actors) to delve more deeply into character creation and scene/monologue analysis. They worked on several undirected scene studies, including their three-person exam scenes. Their big project was their one-act cutting of Much Ado About Nothing, which they performed at the Virginia Theatre Association Annual Conference in Reston. Next semester, they’ll work through A Practical Handbook for the Actor and work on larger group scenes.  They’ll also explore techniques and activities related to different acting styles and theatre practitioners.
Crafts and Skills I / II

Arts and Humanities students study with various guest artists from the community to hone specialized skills. Each session will runs 6-8 weeks.
Students may have the opportunity to choose between two guest artists.

Theater Crafts & Skills I
Vocal Performance  -Anne Wick
Mind/Body Awareness -Mary Evans Lott
Musical Theatre Dance – Lindsey Walters

Theater Crafts & Skills II
College Audition Preparation -Mary Evans Lott
Stage Combat – JP Scheidler



SVGS Theatre Seniors Recognized  At Virginia Theatre Association Conference

Nine seniors representing the Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School advanced to the finals this weekend at the Virginia Theatre Association Secondary School One-Act Play Competition with their production of Almost, Maine by John Cariani.


The SVGS cast members included: Katarina Capaldi (Stuarts Draft High School), Joe Evans (Wilson Memorial High School), Sam Hart (Waynesboro High School), Marie Gilbert (Waynesboro High School), Mackenzie Griffith (Wilson Memorial High School), Christian Marshall (Stuarts Draft High School), Kylie Nabers (Robert E. Lee High School) and Collin Wheeler (Waynesboro High School). The production was stage managed by Megan Pelaccio (Robert E. Lee High School). All nine are seniors in the SVGS Theatre Program.

The cast of Almost, Maine performed on Saturday morning at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott and learned Saturday evening that their scores had earned them a trip to the final round. The six schools that advanced out of 53 would compete for the opportunity to represent Virginia at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in March in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Early Sunday morning, the cast moved their production to the nearby 900-seat Roper Theater at Tidewater Community College, where they performed with the other five schools in front of the entire conference audience.


In addition to the show’s overall recognition, two students received individual awards. Marie Gilbert of Waynesboro High School was named to the conference All-Star Cast, and Kylie Nabers of Robert E. Lee High School earned an award for Best Actress.

Cassy Whitacre, theatre instructor at SVGS, directed Almost, Maine as part of the senior studio acting class.


Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School, in Association with ShenanArts, Presented Winter Play Festival of Three Shows, Jan. 22-25

Breaking barriers and conquering new frontiers are themes uniting the three plays to be presented later this month by the Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School Theatre Department. Anatomy of Gray, The Good Fight, and Decision Height will run in repertory January 22-25 at ShenanArts’ nTelos Theater. The three shows feature over 30 student actors and technicians from all seven Augusta County, Staunton, and Waynesboro high schools.


Anatomy of Gray, by Jim Leonard, is a unique coming-of-age story that deals with death, loss, love, and healing. When June’s father dies, she prays for a healer to come to the small town of Gray, Indiana, so that no one will ever suffer again. Seemingly her prayers are answered when there’s a tornado, and a man in a balloon blows into town claiming to be a doctor. At first, the new doctor cures anything and everything, but soon the town’s preacher takes ill with a mysterious plague. As June works alongside the new doctor to prevent the spread of the plague, she discovers her own skill at healing. Directed by guest artist Diane Cale Stewart, The Anatomy of Gray features Audrey Wood as June and Christian Marshall as Galen Gray and also includes Rachel Dixon, Marie Gilbert, Michael Griffith, Darby Lucius-Milliman, Morgan Thomas, Collin Wheeler, and Patrick Wilkins. Joe Evans is serving as the show’s stage manager. The SVGS Theatre Department wishes to thank Shenandoah Valley Kiwanis for its generous support of this production.

GoodFightPromo2Guest artist and SVGS alumnus Aaron Crosby is directing the Virginia-state premiere of The Good Fight, by Anne Bertram. The Good Fight tells the true story of Grace Roe, an early-twentieth-century English women’s suffrage activist, who organized and trained women in martial arts to protect the leaders of the militant suffrage movement. Angela Bailey will be playing Grace Roe, and the ensemble includes Jordan Ballew, Clarice Ellinger, Lauren Ernst, Luther Fields, Mackenzie Griffith, Ian Gruber, Max Hamlyn, Michael Hawes, Jordan Huffer, Abbey Kincheloe, Savannah Lunger, Courtney Ott, Nick Shearman, Elle Wood, and production stage manager Megan Pelaccio.

DecisionHeightRehearsal2Decision Height, by Meredith Dana Levy, follows the journey of Virginia Hascall, who has left her home and her fiancé in the hopes of becoming a Women’s Airforce Service Pilot. Along with her fellow trainees, Virginia arrives at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas to do her part to help the Allies in the Second World War.

Through triumph and tragedy, the women form a sisterhood that cannot be broken. Under the direction of Cassy Maxton-Whitacre, Decision Height features Sam Hart as Virginia. Chelsie Burks, Alyssa Cannaday, Katarina Capaldi, Rachel Joy Mason, Kylie Nabers, Leara Shumate, Emily Thompson, and Sophie Wellington make up the rest of the nine-woman ensemble and bring to life this story of lesser-known WWII heroes. Decision Height is the winner of the 2013 Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival award for Best New Play, and this production will be the high school premiere.

The productions include set design by Jennifer Vaughan, lighting design by Mike Conner and Jennifer Vaughan, and costume design by Dawn Davis, Kate Delaney, Susan Polly, and Susan Vass.

Anatomy of Gray and Decision Height were presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc. The Good Fight is presented by special arrangement with Anne Bertram.

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