By Aly De Angelus
Skagway’s drama, debate and forensics team swept the theater floor in Ketchikan at this year’s regional meet Jan. 24-26, sending eight show-stopping performances to the state competition Feb. 13-15 in Juneau.
The Skagway team placed first in reader’s theatre, first, third and fifth in informative speaking, second in duo interpretation literature, fourth in humorous interpretation literature, fifth in dramatic interpretation literature, and fifth in mime.
Coach Kent Fielding said he wasn’t at all surprised with the results. “We work fairly hard,” he said. “We practice five days a week, with sometimes three to five hours on the weekend.”
The first-place finish in the reader’s theatre category was a joint effort, where all five team members performed a piece on nuclear proliferation, which was a compilation of 13 or 14 sources woven into a dramatic reading for an audience.
The piece explores the history of nuclear testing from “The Gadget,” an informal nickname for the Trinity test of a nuclear bomb in New Mexico of 1945, all the way to President Donald Trump’s national threats on Iran and the Nyonoksa explosion, a Russian missile explosion last August. Students chose this topic because it is relevant to their course study in school, Fielding said, where the focus in this year’s curriculum is largely on women’s rights and the effects of nuclear testing.
“It makes a lot of sense because we have students that are going to Japan at the end of March, beginning of April for two weeks to study the history of nuclear weapons,” Fielding said. Students are also going to an institute called Point Hope in Sitka, specifically to learn about Alaska’s nuclear history.
Among Skagway’s highest-marked performances was Maisha Rahman’s first-place informative speaking submission on the Matilda effect, first described by 19th-century suffragist and abolitionist Matilda Joslyn Gage. Rahman’s speech examined women scientists who have not received credit for their discoveries, while their male counterparts have taken complete credit for some of those achievements.
Of the seven teams and 30 entrants that competed in the informative speaking category, three of six state finalists are Skagway students: Rahman, Callia Fielding and Sadie Murphy.
Other recognitions included Sadie Murphy and Loren Garduque’s second-place duo interpretation, Sadie Murphy’s third-place informative speaking, Tessa Murphy’s fourth-place humorous interpretation, Callia Fielding’s fifth-place informative speaking, Rahman’s fifth-place dramatic interpretation and Fielding and Tessa Murphy’s fifth-place in mime.
Skagway is one of the smaller teams, with only one third of a full team. The team may be small, but they are hoping for big wins at DDF states on Feb. 13 to Feb. 15.
“We are going to practice as much as we can over the next few weeks and then show up and see what happens,” Fielding said.