R.A.T.S. goes to Love Fest

Violet Resh, Photo and Design Editor

This February the Rochester Alliance of Theatrical Students went to Bay City for the Mid-Michigan Theater Arts Festival at Garber High School. The students left early from school on the Friday, stayed overnight and left late on Saturday evening.

“We basically prepare for months to perform a one act play or musical in front of about 600 high schoolers in other theatre companies,” said junior Desiree Velez, head of the props crew. “And then spend less than two days watching their 15 half-hour shows.”

The cast and crew of Rochester High School performed “Cut!”, a production about a play within a play within a play within a play. Since no one can remember who is the real director of the real play, the performers try to piece through the scripts and understand what is real and what isn’t.

“In order to prepare for the festival, we begin with casting months in advance, and eventually move into rehearsing until 7 everyday after school,” said Velez.

Students in cast and crew work tirelessly to make ends meet before the deadline. Not only does everything need to be made and decided before the show, but every piece of equipment, all the costumes and props, and components of the set needs to be packed up and reassembled all over again at Garber High School.

“We build the entire set together, paint everything by hand, move all the furniture and walls ourselves, designing costumes and decorate the space, as well as coordinate any sound cues and all lighting changes in advance,” Velez said. “Then we face the unique challenge of packing everything up and setting it up all over again in a foreign place.”

The festival has a variety of performances ranging from comedies to dramas, sometimes leaving the audience laughing or crying. The auditorium is full of students from participating schools who all love theater and support one another. Everyone takes this as a time to appreciate theater and learn how to better themselves.

“The goal of attending Love Fest is exactly what it sounds like, “ Velez said. “To appreciate the theatre arts and show our love for other theatre students in the area.”

After each performance, the cast and crew gather into a room in the school to receive a critic by a theater professor from Saginaw Valley College. There it is that students are complemented and offered suggestions in regards to their lighting, acting, or other aspect of the performance.

“Students interested in the arts, performing or writing may benefit from attending Love Fest as it is, for all intents and purposes, a learning experience for students passionate about theatre,” Velez said.

All in all, the theater students from each school all made memories they will never forget. The two days devoted to theater are nothing but fun for the 600 students gathering together to celebrate the performing arts.

“My favorite part about Love Fest is the overall atmosphere, everyone there is so friendly and accepting, it’s like one HUGE loving family,” said Velez. “We all just cheer each other on and have a great time.”