Award-Winning Theatre Arts at Reynolds High
Award-Winning Theatre Arts at Reynolds High
Posted on 11/15/2017
Students at A.C. Reynolds High perform in Father Knows Best.By: Benjamin Rickert, Communications Department

Buncombe schools theatre students are so talented, they win awards for watching paint dry! No, seriously, but more on that later…

On Saturday, November 4, A.C. Reynolds High School sent 14 students from Mr. Robert Reid Goodson’s theatre arts classes to compete at the North Carolina Theatre Conference (NCTC) in Boone, NC. The students prepared two performances and took the lead on planning the costumes, set design, and technology support. Mr. G directed both pieces, but when it was showtime, he stepped aside while they ran the show.

Each school received exactly 45 minutes per performance, and were required to start and end with an empty stage. For the Rockets, the judges announced, “A.C. Reynolds High! Are you ready?” Then the clock started and the students executed their well-rehearsed plan to bring props and set items onto the stage. They also prepared the technical aspects, such as lighting and sound. The actors then took to the stage and performed with enough time to completely reset the stage for the next group to begin. This was all done without a timer in sight while the students relied on their preparation and instincts.

One of the pieces performed was a single act play called Tracks, written by Peter Tarsi. The other — you guessed it — was called Watching Paint Dry and was written by Reynolds student Sam Cheatham.

"Participating in NCTC was an unique theatre experience for me,” said Cheatham. “Getting to be onstage and featuring my work made the entire experience very memorable.”

Reynolds High Theatre Students stand with NCTC JudgesBoth Tracks and Watching Paint Dry earned the troupe a Superior rating, and Cheatham earned an Excellence in Writing award. To top it off, Mr. G was awarded an Excellence in Directing award for his work with the students. It was a day of well-deserved honor for these talented and diligent artists at Reynolds High.

McKinley Schmitz played the role of Mary in Chatham’s piece and operated a spotlight for Tracks. It was the first time she had worked with the technology for a show, and she did it under the pressure of the competition.

“It was a chance to learn a different skill set and see great theatre that the other schools presented,” said Schmitz, looking forward to competing again next year with Reynolds’ Advanced Theatre class.

Mr. Goodson is formerly of the Center for Arts Education in New York City and the Tift Theatre for Performing Arts in Tifton, Georgia and brings a wealth of experience to Reynolds. He was thrilled to see his students perform so well at the regional NCTC competition, as well as for them to study how other schools approached their work. Furthermore, he explained that — much like athletics — college faculty often use the competition for scouting and scholarship purposes, and he looks forward to helping students find their paths to higher education.

“The conference gave students the opportunity to see other schools and what they are doing in terms of costumes and stage work,” explained Mr. G. “By designing the set, lighting, and costumes, it teaches them the full steps in the production process.”

Broadening horizons and teaching next steps is not only a fantastic way to teach theatre, it is how to prepare students for tomorrow.

Awards earned by Reynolds High at the 2017 North Carolina Theatre Conference:
Tracks - Rating: Superior
Watching Paint Dry - Rating: Superior
Theatre Arts Award - Excellence in Playwriting, Watching Paint Dry
Excellence in Ensemble Acting - Tracks
Excellence in Directing - Robert Reid Goodson, Tracks

Watching Paint Dry, Cast and Crew:
Samantha: Addison Seay
Carson: Jak Kickliter
Monty: Will German
Brandon: Sam Cheatham
Chip: Leah Caldwell
Customer 1: Balthazar Strivelli
Customer 2: Carissa Brown
Anna: Autumn Eudy
Mary: McKinley Schmitz
Lighting: Noelle Ballard
Sound: Matthew Mazzarese
Spotlight #1: Carter Mosby
Spotlight #2 : Sam Woolley

Tracks, Cast and Crew:
Professor: Sam Cheatham
Homeless Girl: Noelle Ballard
Lawyer: Griffin Honea
Nun: Hannah Kepple
Business Woman: Autumn Eudy
Old Man: Balthazar Strivelli
Business Man: Leah Caldwell
High School Boy: Sam Woolley
High School Girl: Carissa Brown
Waitress: Addison Seay
Lighting: Matthew Mazzarese
Sound: Jak Kickliter
Spotlight #1: McKinley Schmitz
Spotlight #2: Carter Mosby
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