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Shakespeare in Action: DTASC 2018

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The Charter Oak High School drama students have once again exemplified their talent at this year’s Shakespeare DTASC. Competing against several other high schools in Southern California, many of which are performing arts schools, this small public school from Covina continues to hold its own.

DTASC, or the Drama Teachers Association of Southern California, is an organization that sponsors two acting and technical design competitions each year. In the spring, the competition is centered around Shakespeare’s works. In the fall, any play can be utilized in the events. Every year, hundreds of students flock to the competition to exhibit their diverse talent.

Two select plays are chosen each year for the two large-group events: comedy and drama. This year, the chosen plays were Titus Andronicus, known as Shakespeare’s most violent play, and Taming of the Shrew, a raunchy comedy.

“Shakespeare DTASC is always fun, even more fun than the fall competition,” said Dana, senior from Arcadia High School. Her school is notorious for placing high in all events, usually always in the top three slots in each category.

“Because some schools find Shakespeare harder to perform, a lot of schools choose not to compete in the spring. It’s a lot more crowded in the fall. At Shakespeare [DTASC], the schools left competing are the ones that are a lot more dedicated. It makes it more competitive, and I love it,” she added.

The competition this year was indeed more rigorous than usual, especially in the large group drama category. Titus Andronicus is not an easy play to perform. It involves heinous crimes, from forced cannibalism to rape and dismemberment.

“We got fifth [place], which some people might not consider very good,” said Tala Qasqas, junior. She played Tamora, queen of the Goths, in the Titus group.

“If you saw the other performers in that category, you’d understand why we’re so proud of getting this trophy. This event was hard, and we poured literal blood, sweat and tears to get through it.”

Many students at Charter Oak probably know that the drama department suffered through some very difficult time crunches this past year, and DTASC was no exception. While many schools gave their students months of preparation, the COHS department only had three weeks. This made it all the more impressive when the awards came rolling in.

Along the awards for were an honorable mention for Merry Wives of Windsor in the musical category, first place in the designer’s category for tech, lights, and graphics, honorable mention for audition piece, and second place for large group comedy.

The pride went beyond the performers. While other schools, especially those specializing in performing arts, brought in choreographers and directors, Charter Oak used its very own students to run the scenes.

“I was very proud of what we had done together, but also sad that I wasn’t able to go and see [them] perform,” said Andrew Barron, senior. He directed the Titus Andronicus group, but was not able to attend the festival that day. “We competed against so many people and won alongside performing arts schools. It shows how good we are,” he added.

Every year, Charter Oak joins the competition. Every year, students come back with awards and recognitions. It is truly remarkable that a seemingly unknown school in the heart of Southern California can hold its ground against others, especially those with much better funding and better resources. The students are determined to keep up their reputation, and hopefully, success follows next year as well.

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The student news site of Charter Oak High School
Shakespeare in Action: DTASC 2018