I went to Tampa last week to serve as a chaperone for granddaughter E's high school theater troupe at the 2022 Florida Thespian Festival.
I knew there would be lotsa drama, but sheesh! It was one thing after another. I can't bring myself to recount the technical problems, endless emotions, REAL highs, and REAL lows yet. Too soon.
There are 49 students in E's troupe. Festival organizers were expecting 9,000 students to attend over 4 days of endless events. There were two large locations, and trolleys to take people back and forth to events.
E played dramatic lead in a small one-act play that received "top honors" in that category. Some of her friends competed for voice, costume design, technical expertise, and set design. So much talent!
The large group, mainstage musical was presented at Tampa's Morsani Hall, which seats 2,610. It was jam packed with theater crazed teenagers who really knew how to "voice" their appreciation. Best audience ever! One of the other chaperones said it best when she quipped "They finally got the audience they deserve."
E played the risqué grandmother with panache. She's always been one to steal the show with comic timing and outrageous theatrics. Can I tell you that she got the most applause at the curtain call? Because she did. It was deafening. They loved her and she loved them. She dazzled, throwing ostentatious kisses that would make Gloria Swanson proud! She pointed at the crowd and threw her arms up in the air waving "come hither" towards herself for more applause. The audience went wild.
The mainstage musicals were not a competition. They already competed last fall at district competitions, and only a handful of musicals were chosen from throughout the state to perform at the festival. Being one of those performances was the award. I'm glad. Lack of rivalry enabled the many troupes to mingle, support each other, and enjoy the moment.
I'm so happy I went. I love that young woman.