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McNary Students participate in Oregon Thespian State Festival

By: Kelsey Jarnagin
April 18, 2023

Thespians all around Oregon came together for a three-day event going through workshops, and meeting new people, a select few get to compete; Starting on Thursday, April 13 to Saturday, April 15.

This event is called “Oregon Thespian State Festival” and it happens numerous times throughout the year to see what each troupe has done and learned. Our McNary Thespians will be joining this event to improve their theater skills in different workshops as well as cheer on three of their Thespians. 

The state qualifiers for our Thespian troupe are Lilly Purkey, Talia Medlin, and Kiele Jarnagin who will be performing at state this year. 

They were the only three McNary Thespians who submitted a piece to regionals to perform or show off. They all made it in the top 10% letting them be 2023 state qualifiers, if they had made the top 20% they would have just been regional finalists. Anyone who is a Thespian in their troupe is allowed to participate and perform a piece at regionals. 

“Regionals has different categories. There is music, acting, pantomime which you compete in front of judges a couple of times and they will give you your score and if you get high enough scores you get to compete in state,” Medlin said, a senior Thespian.

These troupe members had gone through months of prepping and training to be ready for this day. Going through and performing it for their theater director Mr.Tom Cavanaugh has given all three contestants great advice and how to really do well. Medlin and Purkey have been working on their duo act since the beginning of early first semester just as a class assignment. 

Purkey and Medlin will be performing a comedic duo act, while Jarnagin will be performing two monologues. They will be at state all day on Thursday showing off their talents in specific time slots towards judges, so they will soon be able to know how they did. 

“I performed a scene with Talia Medlin from a play called ‘All this Intimacy’ by Rajiv Joseph” Purkey said, a senior Thespian board member.

Jarnagin is a State Thespian Officer (STO), so her preparations for this day is looking different from other competitors. She goes through planning her own playwriting workshop and prepping speeches throughout the event.

“I've been reviewing things for my workshop like getting my scripts finalized, figuring out what I'm going to be saying for when I'm on stage speaking, I've been helping with my fellow STOs, and figuring out with Ms.Oregon who is our keynote speaker,” Jarnagin said, senior Thespian president.

For their regionals, they had competed in a different region than their original set plan since Mary Poppins was being performed that same day. So they competed with people who they normally would not have. But at state, they will be going against everyone who made that top 10% in Oregon.

“If we get to perform on the main stage then that is when you will know that you got higher scores and ranked as one of the top competitors,” Purkey said.