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James Clemens Theatre advances to state with ‘Shuddersome’

MADISON – After their impressive work in performances at district competition, theatre students from Bob Jones and James Clemens high schools have qualified to advance to the state-level Walter Trumbauer High School Theatre Festival.

The Trumbauer festival is scheduled on Dec. 2 and 3 at Troy University. James Clemens Theatre’s one-act play is “Shuddersome: Tales Of Poe,” which features four of Edgar Allan Poe’s most haunting pieces: “The Tell Tale Heart,” “The Oval Portrait,” “The Raven” and “The Masque of the Red Death.”

Their promotions stated, “Poe’s words rise from the page like corpses from the grave, leaving the audience to shudder and wonder if they, too, hear that tap . . . tap . . . tapping.”

James Clemens theatre students and their teachers/directors, Amy Patel and Clint Merrill, were excited about the playwright for “Shuddersome,” Lindsay Price, traveling from Canada to visit James Clemens and attend the one-act on Halloween.

An accomplished author of many plays, Price is Vice President of Theatrefolk Inc. and co-creator of Drama Teacher Academy.

“Lindsay led two of my classes in a workshop to explore blocking (movement in a play), because they’re just starting to rehearse their plays for the final showcase in December,” Patel said.

Price watched one class’ troubleshooting rehearsal of “Shuddersome.” “Some students told me later that they were very intimidated. One student said, ‘I was so nervous. What if she doesn’t like ANY of it?’”

“It turns out that Lindsay DID like it. She stayed for the performance and spoke to students during our preshow circle-up,” Patel said.

After viewing the show, Price simply said, “Beautiful.” “She loved the costumes, lighting and integration of American Sign Language signing. Signing added a whole other element to the show. They signed with purpose; I could watch them sign all day,” Patel said.

Students speak AND sign every line in the show, which is accessible for hearing and deaf audience members.

“Lindsay said ‘The Raven’ scene was the best she had ever seen,” Patel said. “She also loved the live music by student musicians. “Your student musicians were just amazing . . . fully integrated into the show,” Price said.

“She had three notes (details that we’ve been able to work on),” Patel said.

At district competition, James Clemens earned these honors: “Best in Show”; “Best Ensemble”; “Best Technical Production”; “Best Lead Performer,” Adam McDougal; “Best Supporting Performer,” Carly Parker; and All-Star Cast, Elizabeth Swaine, Eli Brown and Brody Wilhelm.

James Clemens students presented 63 Individual Events or IEs, like monologues and reader’s theatre. Students who won 52 Superior ratings will advance to state.

On Nov. 29, James Clemens Theatre will present an encore of “Shuddersome: Tales of Poe.” The play will start at 7 p.m. Tickets will cost $5 at the event, or buy online at gofan.co. Students will present IEs at 6 p.m.

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