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WNCC’s Orozco competes in regional college theater

February 5, 2019

SCOTTSBLUFF — Western Nebraska Community College theater student Joseph Orozco was selected to participate in the Kennedy Center American College Theater in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The week-long festival took place on Jan. 20-26 for Region 5.

During his performance in “True West” as the character Austin, two region theater experts from Kansas State University and the University of Nebraska-Kearney sat in the audience.

“Within Region 5, they send respondents to participating plays, so we were a participating play,” Western Nebraska Community College theater teacher Robbie Thompson said. “They came to see the show and gave us feedback about what they liked, didn’t like, and what worked and what didn’t work. The two of them and myself, we nominated Joseph, for the Irene Ryan competition to complete for the scholarship.”

Following the performance, he was nominated to participate in the Irene Ryan regional KCACT.

As part of the regional contest, Orozco selected two scenes and one monologue to act out. With the guidance of Thompson, he selected “Hamlet” for his classical dramatic performance, “Danny on the Deep Blue Sea” for drama, and “The Portrait of the Virgin Mary Feeding the Dinosaurs” for comedy.

Dani Lopez was Orozco’s partner on stage to help highlight his talent.

“We had to do two scenes and a monologue,” Lopez said. “We rehearsed over Christmas break.”

According to the Kennedy Center website, the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship recognizes, honors and provides financial aid to outstanding student performers who are furthering their education. Through the Irene Ryan Foundation, 16 regional and two national scholarships are given out to students annually.

Although, he did not advance to the semifinals, the experience was valuable, he said.

Aside from the acting competition, WNCC Theater students enjoyed exploring a variety of theater workshops.

Lopez, Hanna Brannan and Abaigeal O’Connor participated in a design competition workshop. They had to create a fashion design based on the theme of Ursula and the 1920s genre.

The team name was Under Pressure.

“It was a competition about making a costume out of random things you had,” said Lopez. “The theme was Ursula and then you had to pick a time period, so we picked the 1920s since it was something we kind of knew.”

Using a newspaper to make a dress, the team added details out of trash bags, yarn, wire and surgical caps in 45 minutes.

“You think that’s a lot of time until we got down to the wire and there was so much more we wanted to add, but we didn’t have time,” O’Connor said.

From their experience, the theater students developed their skills and found a new spark for the performing arts.

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