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    PG Players Commence Competition Season

    By: Sarah Daniel 

    Junior Matalin Collins is ready to step out on stage and perform. Multiple thoughts ricochet through her mind. Not only is remembering her lines and cues a priority, but  the moments before going on stage are when she tries to calm herself before going on stage. Collins acts like it’s just another rehearsal to reduce the nerves.

    After the performance she feels accomplished and excited.

    Junior Matalin Collins rehearses her lines for "Thy Life's A Miracle." Photo by Sarah Daniel.
    Junior Matalin Collins rehearses her lines for “Thy Life’s A Miracle.” Photo by Sarah Daniel.

    “It’s really not about if we won or not,” Collins said. “It’s mainly about feeling like we did well and [about] having fun.”

    The PG Players are entering the Virginia Theatre Association (VTA) competition, as they do annually. They will be performing “Thy Life’s a Miracle,” a compilation of works by William Shakespeare. The Players held auditions on Sept. 16, and are now preparing for their performance at the end of October.

    Daryl Phillips, the director and playwright, has been directing since his junior year of high school in 1974. He has been directing plays for the VTA competition for eight years. He wrote the play by taking pieces from Shakespeare’s works and creating a story out of it.

    Phillips takes a positive outlook on each play that he directs.

    “You never know what’s going to be the most difficult part,” Phillip said. “I never think about what might go wrong.”

    In order to audition, students were expected to be prepared to do an improvisation and have an eight to twelve line poem, of their choice, to read.

    Phillips describes the process of rehearsal as “organized failure,” where they try over and over again until they find something that works.

    This play tells the story of a group of actors from a Shakespeare theatre company. One of the actors has just passed away and his dying wish is for the other actors to perform scenes from Shakespeare in his honor.

    With a cast of only eight performers, auditions were very competitive and Phillips is confident about the group of students he chose.

    “I was a little nervous because there were a lot of people auditioning who were really good,” Collins said. “It’s a play about Shakespeare and I wasn’t sure if I could do Shakespeare yet.”

    This is Collins’ first year participating in a VTA competition. However, Collins participated in the Virginia High School League competition play “Ladies of the Tower” last year.

    For most of the PG Players, this will not be their first time competing, however, for senior Sarah Fitch this will be her first year participating in a VTA competition.

    “I do competition plays because the constructive criticism we receive is very helpful and allows [us] to become better performers,” Fitch said.

    Fitch, the same as Collins, pariticipated in last year’s VHSL competition.

    The Players have a great track record for these performances. In years past, the Players have either won or placed. They have also gotten special recognition from judges for elements that they liked about the performance.

    “We’re being critiqued by judges who have their own personal taste,” Phillip said. “The thing we can control is the quality of work we do”

    This competition is also an opportunity for seniors to get interest from schools for theatre. Three out of the four seniors from last year are going to schools that were interested in them during the VTA competition.

    “It really helps for their [college’s] arts programs to recognize you,” Fitch said.

    Forty-five schools and over 600 students enter this competition every year. Phillips describes it as a place where “like-minded people get together to celebrate theatre” and a place where the students are “totally immersed in theatre.”

    “I love acting for the thrill of being able to get out there and work hard but have fun at the same time,” Fitch said.

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