New Adventure on Stage 323

Since I’m a senior, I decided to try something new. All four years of high school I’ve performed in the musicals. Some of my best memories are singing and dancing on stage!

My friend and I wanted to try something new on Stage 323. One of our friends convinced us to try out for the contest play and group interpretation; but we decided that backstage experience was more our style. Our job for the contest play is setting up all the props for the actors and to help set up the back ground. The perk of being on the prop crew is the chance to travel with the cast when they perform at sectionals and state.

Contest play and group interp aren’t like your everyday plays. They are designed to have performances judged in a contest. Dunlap’s contest play, Elephant’s Graveyard, is similar to a regular play but it can’t go over 40 minutes. The group interp performed by Dunlap was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, which also has a time limit of 30 minutes and the actor’s must face the front talking to the audience instead of the other characters.  The plays both go to sectionals and then on to state if they qualify.

Last year, both performances made it to state, which had never been done before in Dunlap’s history! This year both performances are going to state again!

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Sectionals this year was at Belleville IL. on March 18-19 at Belleville West High School. We had to leave on Friday after A lunch to get to Belleville for the contest plays performance at 7:40 p.m. Before we went to the school, we checked into our hotel, played in a park, and had an early dinner.

We arrived at the school early to unload all the props and the background equipment. One of the requirements for both the contest play and the group interp, is that we have to set up the stage and take down the stage in a time limit. If we go over the time limit, we could lose a rank; which could mean the difference between second place and third place. We were also there early so the actors could get dressed and get makeup on. They had a great performance that night!

On Saturday, group interp performed at 10:45 a.m. Before we performed, the cast for the contest play and the crew had a chance to watch other contest plays and group interp plays. We all helped set up the room for the group interp to perform. Our group also had a great performance! Once we put all the equipment back in the truck we had lunch and continued to watch other plays till awards.

There were seven contest plays performing and six group interps. In order to advance to state, the contest play had to get first or second place; our contest play got second! For group interp to go to state, they had to get first, second, or third; they were second! We also had quite a few actors who made it into the all-state cast. From the contest play, we had Linsey France, Jake Schindler, Noah Webber, and Andie Majdic plus some of our light crew Logan Pfalzgraf, Zach Lang, and Lydia Curry. From group interp we had Adam Raso, Emma Windsor, Claire Challacombe, and Elizabeth Duckworth made all-state cast.

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I’m so glad that I decided to participate in the plays even if my job was small. I made so many friends on the trip and made stronger bounds with the friends I already had.

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Benefits of Coloring


FullSizeRender (1)Nothing beats the smell of opening a brand new box of crayons! There is not a lot of opportunity to open a fresh box of crayons in high school. Coloring work sheets was one of my favorite things to do in grade school.

I’ve always enjoyed coloring. Every time I visit my grandparents, I color in one of their many coloring books. They have a big basket of all kinds of coloring books (mostly princess and Barbie) with boxes of crayons, markers, and colored pencils. Yes, I am the oldest grandchild. Yes, I still do this today. I love sitting at the folding table my grandpa sets up in the TV room and coloring with my younger cousins.

I enjoy this so much that my favorite present I received this Christmas was a coloring book, colored pencils, and my penguin pencil sharpener.  Lately, I’ve been wondering how coloring affects us and maybe even help us mentally.

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A CNN article touched on the latest craze of adult coloring books. Research shows that coloring helps the brain wind down and focus, giving it therapeutic qualities. The article states that many researchers and even yoga editors suggest that coloring can be classified as a sort of meditation.

Marygrace Berberian, an art therapist, states in the CNN article that “coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus or bring [about] more mindfulness.” In 2005, research was done showing that the subjects who colored had anxiety levels drop while those subjects that just doodled, didn’t display a reduction in anxiety levels.

A Fox News article wrote, “ The health benefits go beyond relaxation, and include exercising fine motor skills and training the brain to focus.”

Doctors like Psychiatrist Carl Jung have known about coloring benefits since the early 1900’s, and have been prescribing coloring to their patients. Psychologist Dr. Ben Michaelis says, “Because it’s a centering activity, the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that is involved with our fear response, actually gets a bit, a little bit of a rest, and it ultimately has a really calming effect over time.”

It helps stressed out adults not just by feeling calm as a sort of meditation, but it also makes them feel like a kid again. They get to relive the feeling of a carefree life- well, maybe for a little while.

Coloring can also help a person fall asleep. Many people, including myself, look at Facebook, check out Instagram, or watch YouTube video’s before we go to bed. This can reduce our level of melatonin- a sleep hormone- which disrupts sleep patterns. Coloring every night before bed is an electronic-free way of unwinding and won’t disturb melatonin levels, making it easier to fall asleep.

I have noticed that coloring at least once a week has helped me be calmer about situations. The weekend before a big test, I found some time to sit and color and felt less stressed and more focused.

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If you’re looking for a way to help lower your stress or anxiety level or fall asleep, you might want to try coloring. Sure it’s a little kid activity, but it might surprise you. You might just enjoy it so much you’ll color on a weekly basis.