Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival: SRJC drama crew in Boise


Nadav Soroker / Oak Leaf

Nicholas Valenzano, Carmen Mitchell, Charles Coyston, Myriah Gross and Patrick St. John smile for the camera at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region VII Tech Olympics in Boise, Idaho, where they placed second.

Nadav Soroker, Contributing Writer

Eleven Santa Rosa Junior College students and faculty touched down at Boise Airport to brisk weather and a week of competitions, workshops and shows, aiming for the Irene Ryan Scholarship, Design Awards and to keep the Tech Olympics Trophy as the reigning champions.

Kayla Kearney and Carmen Mitchell attended as Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Nominees for their acting in SRJC productions of “Distracted” and “Les Misérables” respectively. They were joined by their acting partners Rosella Bearden and Patrick St. John, who worked with them to rehearse parts for their auditions. Neither Kearney, who previously helped Paige Picard go to the final round of auditions at the 2013 Region VII competition, or Mitchell made it past the first round of auditions.

Mollye Kestler-Tobias entered her make-up and hair designs from “Les Miserable” in the Design, Technology, Management Expo, under the Allied Design and Technology category. Kester-Tobias’ design won a Meritorious Achievement award, the only makeup and hair design to win, though she did not advance to nationals.

“I went to a lot of workshops about the design process that will be really useful in the future,” Kestler-Tobias said. “With the DTM expo, too, I learned a lot about what to do and what not to do.”

The Santa Rosa representatives flew out to Boise as the reigning champions of the Tech Olympics, a series of challenges for backstage workers including costume changes, knot relays, thimble and crosby, hanging and focusing lights, setting up sound and spiking a floor plan. The previous year, when the conference was held in Sacramento and a larger group could attend, SRJC fielded two tech teams, placing first and second to conclusively seal their dominance. This year they failed to take home the trophy, coming in second to George Fox University.

Professors Maryanne Scozzari and Laura Downing-Lee attended with students Mitchell, Kot Takahashi, Myriah Gross, St. John, Kearney, Bearden, Kestler-Tobias, Charles Coyston and Nicholas Valenzano. They paid their own way to Boise, and the SRJC theatre department’s independent fund covered their hotel and entry fees. The Theatre Department sells concessions and has a donation box at all of their shows that goes to the fund, enabling them to bring students on trips such as to the ACTF conference.