OHS students head to national theater festival

Odessa High School students Vianka Suchil and Juan Rivera are headed to the International Thespian Festival summer 2018 after qualifying in state competition this fall.

Theater teacher Chyree LeMaster said six students from Odessa High participated in the Texas Thespian and Festival Competition. Along with Suchil and Rivera, Karis Cox, Jonathan Spruill, KeyLee Dennis and Caitlynn Almance took part.

The International Thespian Festival is scheduled for June 25 through June 30 in Lincoln, Neb.

LeMaster said she has about 150 students in her theater classes.

“I’m excited. They’ve worked very, very hard,” LeMaster said. “I’m super proud of them.”

The Texas Thespian Festival and Competition was in November and included about 8,000 students. Suchil and Rivera found out they were in nationals at that time. LeMaster said Suchil and Rivera staged a scene from “Romantic Comedy” by Bernard Slade.

“The festival is a festival and competition. It’s really wonderful thing for our students to get to go to. It costs quite a bit to get there, but when they’re there they get to see professionals. The professionals facilitate the workshops. I really love to take them to get those workshops. But the competition is incredible as well because they get to compete against other students in the same field that they’re in and they get to see other students in that field, as well,” LeMaster said.

Rivera is a 16-year-old junior and Suchil, a 17-year-old senior and neither expected to make nationals.

“I am ecstatic,” Rivera said. “I’m very excited. I think it will be an amazing experience, especially because more than one of us gets to go.”

They haven’t decided what piece they will perform at nationals yet, but it will likely be a duet scene because they are comfortable with each other.

Rivera got involved in theater as a freshman and Suchil started in seventh grade.

“So it’s been awhile,” Suchil said. “I’ve always been a character. I’ve always been something special.”

Rivera said he loves acting and the rush of being on stage. But he also enjoys how theater people are like a family.

“It’s different from any other fine arts department because you have your band and your art and choir. I think we’re really close to choir, but we’re just a big family and we’re so accepting and supportive of one another and everything that we do. That’s not just theater,” Rivera said.

Suchil said she has been involved in a lot of different extracurricular activities and groups, but there is nothing like theater.

“It’s something incredibly different, especially here in Odessa … You don’t find people like this every day,” Suchil said.