Drama Competition 2012

“Trapped in a Monologue”—more like “trapped in the pursuit of self-indulgence.”

This memory is pretty extensive, for it takes place over the course of Fall 2011 and Fall 2012, a timeframe that appraised my integrity and potential as a young artist. Star Wars LIVE was a milestone in my artistic endeavors, no question, and it offered plenty more challenges that invigorated my desire to deliver a two-hundred percent strife. After the “Farce Wars,” I joined a group of friends to participate in an annual Drama Competition that circulated the majority of the Treasure Valley: schools from Boise, Nampa, Eagle, Mountain Home, Emmett, etc. I attended the year prior (2010), but I was especially driven to excel in 2011 because I was with talented peers I trusted and was thrilled to share their success. Being teenagers, we performed a string of skits from Monty Python and the Holy Grail—which was perhaps the least crafty device you could present to a handful of “judges.” (I hesitate to call them judges because a wide percentage were random volunteers, recent high school graduates, and not under the capacity of a theatre coach.)

Warren, Cody, Madi, Giana, and I had fun, nonetheless. The Monty Python impressions were on par of overbearing annoyance. The blocking and props were eloquently executed more impressively than I anticipated. There were laughs, some hesitant, but no one else could have done better. Our tribute did not qualify an invitation to State, which was fine, but neither did my two audition monologues. (As a seventeen-year-old, I wasn’t much of a “good actor,” but neither were the volunteers “good at judging.” I recall one of them indicating I needed to be “less angry,” which resulted a six-out-of-ten score. Even as an inexperienced high school student, the feedback was empty, dry, and stupid.) Despite my beginner stature, I spent a lot of nights absorbing my lines and blocking those two scenes. Alas, my hopes were raised beyond reality and, despite my overall enjoyment of Fall 2011, I developed an insatiable desire to climb higher. Three days after my encounter with disappointment, I found the one monologue that would take me State Finals in the following year.

“Trapped in a Monologue” was a comedic piece that exposed me to the unlimited capabilities of a theatre performer—in fact the setting was so immensely vague, I was thrilled to discover that just about anything could be done with it. The scene was nothing more than someone who was literally “trapped in a monologue,” or rather whose existence depended on avoiding the utterance of the term “scene.” The surrealism, the humor, I immediately embraced it, and I kept it a secret. Looking back, it was a silly, preposterous commitment, however a model point-of-attack to prove my tenacity. I was so confident in this piece that it was the only thing I had for the 2012 competition, my final opportunity to succeed before graduating high school. Other participants in my class were poised with at least two different categories to fulfill: serious and comedic monologues and ensembles, musicals, make up, scene design, and original craft. Of all these waters to test, it was just me and this random, uncopyrighted piece. Thankfully, it promised me a spot in the State Finals. A tidal wave of overwhelming gratification brought me tears of joy, despite my consistent thoughts of “Oh yeah, Jake, you’re getting your ass on that tour bus to Pocatello.”

Following my nomination, I was requested to perform my winning piece on Columbia High School’s behalf. This would be my first time performing on a Proscenium stage, aside from Nampa High’s Thrust. It took several deep breaths of eliminating fear, before I presented in front of five-hundred students. They enjoyed the show, it was the success I promised myself one year ago. Granted I did not place in the State Finals, for reasons I personally found unnecessary, given that the first-place winner in my category was a stagnant performance by one lucky Debate kid, there were many, many other performances which I believe surmounted my own. But it wasn’t like we after scholarships and other large sums of money. Alas, the amount of friendship and boisterous dirty jokes incorporated in this journey, my achievements would remain lost as perhaps something mundane and otherwise useless. A ten-hour round trip in a cramped school bus would be far less tolerable, and I wouldn’t have a purple ribbon to solely protect in my closet storage. I’ve grown a lot since the experience and it’s a subtle reminder that high school wasn’t too much of a waste of time.

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