Students perform in global festival |

Students perform in global festival

by Caryn Haller

Three Carson Valley actors recently returned from Lincoln, Neb., where they performed on the world stage, as well as auditioned for college scholarships.

Kaitlyn Barrett, Braeden Garrett and Taylor Gray were among 3,500 participants in the International Thespian Festival, a weeklong event for high school students from around the world to compete in individual acting events.

“Last year I was the only person from Douglas County to attend,” 17-year-old Barrett said. “It was cool to have the support of other Douglas County people and to know thespian competitions are becoming a bigger thing in Douglas County.”

During the festival Barrett auditioned for Play Works, short student-written plays that get featured in Dramatics Magazine.

She was cast in a lead role in the play, “507.”

“I was one of about 15 of the 500 auditioners to get cast,” she said. “When people get cast to be in the original plays it’s really prestigious.”

The highlight of the festival for Barrett was earning a superior rating in the solo musical individual event. She sang “Climbing Uphill” from the musical “The Last Five Years.”

“I was surprised. They only hand out so many each year,” Barrett said. “It reassures me that theater is something I should do with my future.”

Soon-to-be Silver State Charter School senior Braeden Garrett also competed in the solo musical theater event with the song “The Confrontation” from “Jekel and Hyde.”

“I got a rating of excellent. This competition is a lot harder than state and regionals,” the Gardnerville resident said. “This being my first time going to the International Thespian Festival I was very pleased with getting that rating on my song.”

Representatives from 50 colleges around the country were also onhand taking auditions from the student actors.

Garrett, 17, received callbacks from 11 colleges, but Chicago, South Dakota, Illinois and Minnesota caught his eye.

“I feel they are a good fit for me in what I want to do in my life,” he said. “I want to major in musical theater and double minor in dancing and acting.”

He also said the festival was good training for him personally.

“It was quite overwhelming with a lot happening in one week. I felt I grew so much as a performer, dancer and actor,” he said. “You really get a chance to experience different cultures and how they do it where they live.”

Along with competing in individual events and auditioning for college scholarships, Minden resident Taylor Gray made many new friends at the festival.

“It was really cool meeting so many different people from so many different backgrounds,” Gray said. “I met kids from London, Japan, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas. There were people from everywhere, and it was so cool to see how they act.”

The 19-year-old received an excellent rating in the contrasting monologues event where she had three minutes to recite a dramatic and comedic monologue.

“It’s intense especially for the actor to make the switch, but it can be done,” she said. “It’s definitely nerve-wracking but when it comes down to getting up there you lose yourself into the character and all the nervousness goes away.”

Gray is attending Western Nevada College in the fall until she decides what her next move will be. She does know for sure though, that acting is a part of her future plans.

“It’s a really good thing for resumes, and can get you scholarships,” she said. “Acting period, helps you grow in your confidence talking in front of people. I used to be super shy and now I can rattle on for hours.”