Animas High Theatre Showcases Original Student Plays at DAC

Animas High School’s Osprey Theatre Company is staging a showcase of original student work at the Durango Arts Center on April 5th and 6th. The evening will feature two student-authored one-act plays and a guest appearance by the AHS improv troupe. You’re watching the Local News Network, brought to you by Kroegers, Ace Hardware and Serious Texas Bar-B-Q. I’m Connor Shreve. Animas High School’s theater program is in its fourth year under the direction of theater teacher Joy Kilpatrick. The program follows the school’s project-based approach, fostering student creativity and collaboration in all aspects of production. The two one-act plays were authored by seniors Maddie Tharp and Caleb Bates for an assignment in their playwriting elective.

This semester, our playwrights Maddie and Caleb are producing their one acts with the theater students who are acting them out. And we get to unite forces with the Durango Arts Center. Caleb is actually directing his one-act. I am directing Maddie’s, but Maddie is assisting me as co-director.

Maddie’s play is a paranormal, Scooby Doo-esque murder mystery set in the 1950s. The play was selected as a finalist in the Denver Center of Performing Arts High School Playwriting Contest.

It was so interesting because at first, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make it about. I had some general ideas, and it was October when we started writing them, and so I was like, “Ah, I’ll go with ghosts.” As I continued writing, the characters took on a life of their own. But I could actually start seeing them as individuals who had character growth that was really organic as the play progressed and it became this own little world. That was really cool to see.

Caleb’s play is a sci-fi parody about a teenager who discovers his late mother’s ring can manipulate time. Caleb is also directing a play for the first time.

Staging this has been really interesting ’cause I’ve been an actor in Osprey Theatre Company for multiple years at this point. Getting to direct a play has been a very different angle that I’ve gotten to see. In a lot of ways, I get to be almost in control a lot more of the whole production. This is what I want the scene to look like. This is how I envision the characters. And end up creating a image that in a way is what I saw when I wrote it, but is creatively different. I’ve gotten to see my actors and how they’ve taken on the roles that I’ve given them. It’s also allowed me to enhance the overall story.

The evening of original one-act plays is a collaboration between the AHS theater electives.

They’re learning about their voice, they’re learning about their acting, they’re learning about how to move their bodies and engaging their imagination, and learning how to work as an ensemble, cultivating empathy and learning to hear others’ stories, and at the same time, they’re mounting a production.

There will also be a guest appearance from the new improv troupe that has risen out of the Art of Comedy elective taught by Oliver Kennedy.

So the improv troupe is going to be performing a halftime show during intermission essentially. They’re going to have a 15-20 minute set. They’ll be doing some short-form improv games. There’ll be laughs, there’ll be hoots, there’ll be hollers and it’s going to worth checking out.

It’s a really wonderful community and it’s a little sanctuary in the school. When things get tough and I’m stressed about college and all my homework, and all of the things, it’s really nice to be able to go off into that little room at the end of the day and we do our little warm-ups and we get to become characters and create amazing art together. So I’m really grateful that I have the theater company. I don’t know if I’d make it through senior year without it.

The Animas High School theater program is grateful for the support and collaboration of other local theater companies and arts organizations.

From the beginning of our theater program, we have not actually had our own stage in which to perform for the public, and the Durango Arts Center has so gracefully opened up their doors and invited us in to collaborate as a community member, so that our students have a place to perform and for our audiences to be entertained.

You should come to the theater this weekend because supporting the arts is awesome. Supporting inspired young people is awesome, and it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a really good time.

For more information about this and other stories, visit Thank you for watching this edition of the Local News Network, I’m Connor Shreve.

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