These photos were taken during their Friday and Saturday practice before their performances.
The Dripping Springs High School’s theatre department kicked off their season with the comical farce Noises Off, written by Michael Frayn. This is the most eccentric play I have seen the DSHS theatre department tackle by far, but they could not have done a better job of capturing the hilarity of the reality of what happens behind-the-scenes in theatre.
Noises Off brilliantly represents the life of the actors, directors, and backstage managers of the play Nothing On in three acts of clever screenplay. Each act changes perspective and scenery of the play Nothing On. Act One showed the viewer how rehearsal can be stressful and tedious, especially if the ensemble only has six hours till the doors open. Act Two showed the viewer what happens back stage while the show, Nothing On is being performed. Lastly, Act Three gave the viewer the actual performance of Nothing On.
As the curtains were raised for Act One, I was immediately impressed by the set design; it was the most elaborate set I have seen from DSHS theatre. There were minor discrepancies in parts of the set, but nothing that large is worth noting. In this act, I was most impressed with the acting of Cameron Adkins and Jaxson Thornton.
Adkins portrayed the director of Nothing On, Lloyd Dallas, who I found comical, as well as relatable. I really enjoyed Adkins’ character, as throughout the first act, he is with us in the audience. Adkins played Lloyd Dallas, the director of Nothing On. I most appreciated Adkins’ performance due to him being an extremely interactive character. He was constantly moving from the audience, to actually being on the stage with the other characters. He was also able to act annoyed, angry, and frustrated while not having to be front and center of the stage; which also impressed me.
In addition to Adkins, Jaxson Thornton also gave a noteworthy performance as Freddy Fellowes, an actor of the play Nothing On. One of the most unbelievable performances of the play was when Thornton’s character had a predicament with his trousers. I found this scene one of the most hilarious parts of the play and what also looked quite taxing for Thornton to perform, and I applaud him for it.
Once again, I was impressed with the set design for Act Two. It was accurate to what backstage looks like for actors with details such as the doors labeled of what room they are, the backstage manager’s podium, and the heaps of costumes and sheets thrown over the railings of the set.
I was most amazed with this act by its capability to make me laugh so much with minimal dialogue (aside from the dialogue spoken by the actors performing Nothing On on the other side of the set). This act was mainly composed of extremely animated mannerisms and gestures among the actors, which is incredibly hard to pull off without spoken words. In this act, I especially enjoyed the performances of Trinity Adams and Logan Dundon.
I found that these two actors did an incredible job of giving a very dramatic performance in this act with minimal dialogue. In Adams’ performance of the actress Belinda Balir, I especially liked her high-speed acting as she was constantly running, jumping around everywhere; she was quite a pistol. Along with Adams’ performance, I also enjoyed Dundon’s performance of the unstable, but comical character of the actor in Nothing On, Garry Lejeune. With the combination of Dundon’s character banging his head and foot on the post of the set, wanting to slash his co-stars with an axe, and drinking, he really did a remarkable job of playing this character.
Lastly for Act Three, the audience got to see the final performance of the play Nothing On. The set returns back to the front view of the setting for Nothing On. In this act, everything goes awry for the actors of Nothing On. The cues are off, lines are forgotten, too many understudies appear, and one of the characters even had a head injury; but the show must go on.
The actors in this final act I enjoyed the most were Grayson Ruiz and Nathan Dahill. Though neither of their characters are exactly leading roles, their performances were still very well done. What I appreciated most about Ruiz’s performance is her very comical, high-pitch accent as it further supplements the hilarity of her character’s clumsiness and forgetfulness.
Also with Dahill’s performance, he did an excellent job as well by playing the drunken old actor of Selsdon Mowbray. Dahill’s stance, drunken mannerisms, and the way he spoke all exhibited his high quality acting in portraying this peculiar character.
Overall, I give Dripping Spring High School theatre’s Noises Off a 4.5 out of 5 stars. All the actors in this play each gave the audience an incredible performance. What I appreciated the most out of all the actors were their dedication to master English accents, which truly exemplified the play. I can foresee all the actors doing extremely well in their next production, My Fair Lady, coming in January 2017.
Written by Alyssa Weinstein
In the world we live in, girls need to be taught how to hold their keys in between their knuckles, where to park, and how to enjoy a party without falling victim to a possible attack. However, these tactics were left in the dust when Stanford athlete, Brock Turner, raped a young woman beside a dumpster back in January of 2015. Disregarding overwhelming evidence, the judge gave Turner six months out of a possible 14 year sentence. However, the grossly insufficient punishment didn’t stick because on September 2, 2016 he was released from jail after serving half of it. Turner got a disgusting yet welcoming response from universities offering him the chance to speak on drinking and promiscuity. These offers are only further perpetuating the idea that the alcohol and the victim were to blame for the assault.
For those unaware, Turner was caught by two men raping his victim as she lay unconscious on the concrete. During the trial, he became the textbook definition of the unapologetic assailant, by pointing blame at everyone and everything else but him. He even went as far to say she gave consent, despite her having no recollection of the assault. Though the jury read through his cowardly lies, the judge startlingly seemed unable to grasp the extent of his actions. Now, three months after Turner’s indictment, this monster is allowed to walk free while the rest of our nation is left confused and angry.
It’s terrifying to me to see the same world telling us how to be safe, is in the same breath covering the problem. Throughout the course of the trial it was no mystery what he had done, but the voices in his defense constantly belittled the attack and instead blamed the alcohol, party atmosphere, and the victim for putting herself in a vulnerable situation. This case is an example as to why girls must take extra precautions to protect our safety. It seems that no matter how brutal the incident is, we constantly get told how the victim is at fault for the attack. Many people rallying in his defense cried the same excuses we hear every time a case like this surfaces. For example, “she put herself in the situation”, “he was drunk,” or my personal favorite, “she was basically asking for it.” How does anyone truly believe she wanted to be violated, bruised, and publicly humiliated?
With all this ignorance being thrown around, at some point we need to take a step back and realize how harmful victim blaming truly is. Not only are young girls being told they don’t matter, but boys are made to believe that to be violent, controlling, and abusive is normal and okay. The colleges should be ashamed for offering Turner a chance to be a hero when he never admitted to being a villain. The universities may think they’re getting behind the problem, but in reality they’re just fueling it.
Written by Liliana Reyes
It seems like every time I turn on my TV there is some type of shooting. Whether it’s a school shooting, a shooting at a business, or even a shooting in a Planned Parenthood center. It’s making people much more fearful about leaving high school and going to college because there’s no guarantee that you are in a safe place anymore.
So, how can these be prevented? How can we, as a nation, not be scared anymore? Basically the only thing that pops into my mind is Gun Control. I’m not saying that all guns should be banned and that we should all dispose of them; it just makes sense for these shooters having their guns to not have them. Eddie Garcia, a police chief from San Jose, California, states that he “agree[s] with the right to bear arms, but [he] equally believe[s] in the limitations that have been placed by our courts. One aspect that [he] find[s] interesting is that the Second Amendment was adopted in the late 1700’s. [He] wonder[s] if today’s modern weaponry were available then, if the amendment would look the same. [He] suspect[s] not.”
The problem is that we mourn and we pray for about a week after the shooting happens. Many will come forward and say we will fight to change things and that this needs to stop. But we never actually do anything about it. It has become a repetitive process that cycles over and over again. The process we can use to change things once and for all is something I’d like to call a “3 Step Plan”. First, we get rid of the loophole that allows people to buy assault weapons, such as AK-47’s. A law was put in place to ban assault weapons from people, but gun manufacturers found a way to change how many rounds you could take in an assault weapon, therefore going around the law that was put in place. Those types of weapons should be used for war, not for hunting. Second, we put heavy background checks at all gun shows. Many gun shows don’t even reinforce any type of background check, so any kid could go in and purchase one. And third, treat guns more like cars. Everyone should have a license to have a gun, and if they hurt people with that gun, have insurance and be liable to pay for the damages of people or the area.
The Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting was one of the most horrific and terrifying shootings that involved the brutal murders of 26 people. The victims include 20 kids between the ages of 6 and 7, along with 6 staff members. These kids, who barely had grown up yet, were killed by a psychopath, at a place that was supposed to be a place they could learn, grow, and create. Since that shooting, there has been 186 school campus shootings in America. According to a Los Angeles Times article, that means “a gun has been fired on school grounds nearly once a week” which is both frightening and astounding. We can’t continue to live this way anymore. We need to put aside our differences and do this for the safety of one another. We need to take a stand and mean it.
Nicole Hockley, whose son passed away in the Sandy Hook killing, claims that people “need to not just look us in the eyes, but look at our children and the lost ones and see those faces, see what’s gone and remember this isn’t just about political parties. This isn’t just about careers. This is about people. And this is about making change to save people. And it’s important to remember the people you are doing this for.”
Written by Grayson Ruiz
“Wish we could turn back time/ To the good ‘ole days/ When our mamas sang/ Us to sleep but now we’re/ Stressed Out,” sings a budding band in their hit song, “Stressed Out”. Twenty One Pilots, a band quickly climbing the totem pole of popular culture, is surrounding the minds of teenagers with lyrics and passion. “My friends kept telling me to check them out, and when I did, I fell in love with them,” sophomore Varun Verma said. The “them” being referred to is the hit band, Twenty One Pilots. Twenty One Pilots has a large fan base that is spread throughout the world, and if there is one commonality between them, it’s that they are all die-hard about the music.
“Down in the forest/ We’ll sing a chorus/ One that everybody knows,” sings the group on their album Regional at Best in 2011. Although it has taken this long, they most definitely have teens uniting together over their music and lyrics. “I like them because they sound different,” said Olivia Caldera, “You could have a completely different music style than I have because Twenty One Pilots kind of blends genres.” They band covers topics, but are still excited and happy to be there. Twenty One Pilots has a unique way of making people feel at peace, and the performers themselves are always excited to help. “Their songs sound like a celebration in concert,” said sophomore Vasi Bjeletich, “I think that they said a bunch of the things that a bunch of us feel. A lot of songs are love songs, and those are nice, but they’re not super relatable. With Twenty One Pilots songs, you can feel them.”
“These lyrics aren’t for everyone, only few understand,” sings Twenty One Pilots on their album Blurryface released in 2015. It’s really cool to have music that says our thoughts and feelings out loud and that writes our feelings down. Of their songs, Holding Onto You, seems to be a common favorite. In particular, the stanza “You think twice about your life/ It probably happens at night, right?/ Fight it, take the pain ignite it/ Tie a noose around your mind loose enough to breathe fine/ And tie it to a tree and tell it/ You belong to me this ain’t a noose/ This is a leash and I have news for you/ You must obey me,” is attractive to teens. This stanza gives teens hope and allows them to know that there are ways to fight back against their struggles. The lyrics contained in the artwork that is Twenty One Pilots music often contain messages that speak to people on a deep emotional level. “I think it kind of amplifies what I’m already feeling,” said Bjeletich.
“Something we can relate to/ All of us relate/ If it’s something we’ve been through,” the band sings on Regional at Best. Some of their songs are generic, not that they don’t have any meaning, but that everyone can relate to, like Stressed Out. Everyone can relate to stress, but not everyone can relate to topics in Trees or stuff like that. One of the goals of any musician is to create meaningful, relatable music, and Twenty One Pilots has been successfully achieving this for the last five years.
The only issue is that to some, their music is becoming too relatable, stealing away its value to original clique members. I get really mad when people are fake clique members because it’s like “Yeah, their music is cool, but do you understand the lyrics? Do you know what people have gone through?” Because of what many of Twenty One Pilots do experience, it is a very reasonable feeling to be angry at people who do not understand.
“I know/ Where you stand/ Silent/ In the trees,” sings the band on their albums Regional at Best and Vessel. To be blunt, teenagers experience emotions and go through periods of depression and other things that can leave them feeling hopeless, and Twenty One Pilots save them from those feelings or help them through it.
“I will fly with no hope, no fear,” sings the band in their final song of their self-titled album, Twenty One Pilots. Twenty One Pilots provides emotional relief to teenagers and truly all people who experience any kind of powerful emotion. As Varun Verma said, “They’re a great band and anyone who’s interested should definitely try to listen to them.”
Written by Emily Curran
Last Monday, hundreds of parents went back to high school for a night at the DSHS Meet the Teacher event on September 12.
Meet the Teacher is an annual event at Dripping Springs High School that allows parents to go through their child’s schedule and interact with all their teachers in person.
Jacqueline Glenn, a mother and educator herself, says that events like this are very insightful for parents.
“I attended the Meet the Teacher night because I think it’s important to be part of my children’s education,” Glenn said.
Glenn is a Learning Specialist at St. Gabriel’s Catholic School and uses the Meet the Teacher night at her own school to gain a better understanding of not only the parents, but her students as well.
“I think it is important to meet the parents so that you get an understanding of which parents are more available and make school and events like this a priority,” Glenn said. “It helps me know which kids may need more support as a result of parents who are frequently not available for these events due to a busy work or social calendar.”
Glenn believes that events like Monday night where the parents get to interact with their child’s teachers create a connection between school and home you can’t quite get from anything else.
“It’s important to be part of my children’s education. Meeting the teacher is one way for me to let my child know that I support them and am concerned about what they are learning and how they are learning,” Glenn said. “It provides a valuable connection between school and home.”
Allison Schmidt, mother of senior Natalie Schmidt, attends the event each year.
“Meet the teacher night provides you with a brief snapshot as to what your child goes through on a daily basis at school,” Schmidt said. “I think one of the main things I took home from the evening is how hard it is to get to get from class to class on time!”
Schmidt enjoys attending this event each year because she sees it as a way to connect with her student’s teachers and gain a better understanding of what the atmosphere of the class is like.
“I find it beneficial being able to meet my daughter’s teachers and to learn more about the classes she is taking,” Schmidt said. “You’re able to get a feel for their teaching styles and philosophies.”
Her husband, Rodney Schmidt, attended the event as well to try and get a better feel for the new block scheduling implemented in the high school as well as get to know the teachers his student sees every day.
“It may be the only opportunity to meet your child’s teacher,” Mr. Schmidt said. “You get an introduction to the teachers and first impression of their personalities.”
Meet the Teacher night has been a successful tool for teachers, parents, and students at DSHS to help streamline communication and inspire a friendly and good-natured relationship between a student’s home life and their academic careers.
“It’s important for every student to know that their parents are invested in their education,” Glenn said. “Showing up for back to school night is a way to let your children know that you are connected and aware of what’s happening at school.”
Written by Olivia Fletcher
Thunder is a noise that holds great power and begs for respect from all who are near, so it only makes sense that the Tiger Drumline hosts the Thunder in the Hills Drumline contest annually.
Bands from around Texas are given the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of a renowned panel of judges from across the country. In its 8th year, Thunder in the Hills will host judges Tim Jackson, Caleb Roth, Brad Meyer, and Ray Ulibarri. All are encouraged to come.
“If you’ve never attended a drumline contest, it’s a lot of fun and really cool to see,” percussion instructor Jason Dye said.
“Seeing all the innovative and creative things that students can do from just percussion instruments is the interesting part,” Band Director Keith Lancaster said.
Bands that compete at Thunder in the Hills use a wide range of instruments, from basic percussion instruments such as the timpani to African instruments and even electronic keyboards.
“Preparing for it is absolutely not my favorite part,” Dye said, “and it’s been nothing but a headache.”
Although the preparations for such a fun event may be difficult, the journey seems to be worth the wait.
“That’s going to be a fun part, getting some advice for us to make our group better. That ought to be a lot of fun,” Dye said.
In addition to providing helpful tips on improving Tiger Band’s Drumline and showcasing statewide bands, Thunder in the Hills is a great fundraiser.
“It’s also a good public relations tool to connect with other schools and bands in the area,” Band Director Derek Woods said.
In both the business and competitive world, public relations is crucial. Thunder in the Hills will be held at the Tiger Stadium on Saturday, September 17 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
As Lancaster said, “If you want to see some great drumming and see a really cool and competitive event, come on out.”
Written by Emily Curran
The DSHS theatre department has high hopes this year, beginning with their first production, Noises Off. Theater director Rachel Koske is looking forward to this classic comedy that the team has wanted to do for a long time.
“Noises Off will be the department’s big, hilarious jumpstart to this year’s lineup of productions, which include the musical My Fair Lady, The Laramie Project, and The Marowitz Hamlet. These plays will give the theatre students a variety to work on and at the same time will challenge the team,” Koske said.
The Dripping Springs community can expect this year’s theatre productions to be better than ever with more extensive sets along with bigger production values.
However, now that the two leading stars, Joey Kelly and Trey Stallings have graduated, the school and community wonders how the theatre department will change without their high-level acting presence on stage.
Being a theatre teacher, Koske realized over the years that even though the strongest talent may leave, there is always new and young talent waiting to be discovered. The departures of Kelly and Stallings simply creates space for new actors to make their big break. Who knows, we may see the next Joey Kelly or Trey Stallings reincarnated on stage this year.
“The DSHS theatre department’s main goal this year is not to suck and, most importantly, to utilize everyone to the best of our skill levels,” Koske said.
She hopes to combine everyone’s different strengths and backgrounds to create the best productions possible. The theatre department’s goal for 2017 is to perform a play in one of Scotland’s great art festivals, but they must raise enough money from this year’s productions.
Koske tells her aspiring actors to tell the truth. She does not believe that acting is pretending, as most people do. Her philosophy is to always be honest on stage; that is what the audience comes to see.
“It’s hard—harder than what you think,” Koske said. “Acting is purely taking the mask off, and being truthful to yourself, and to your audience.”
Written by Alyssa Weinstein
If there’s one thing everyone knows about Weatherly Sawyer, it’s that she is an incredibly talented artist. Even those who do not know her personally see her breathtaking pieces of work in the halls of our high school on a daily basis.
These pieces of art have been a part of Sawyer’s life since she was a child. Throughout her whole life any spare time that she’s had has been spent drawing, painting, or doing some other type of craft.
“I can’t really remember any specific instance that made me start liking art, I just felt the need to draw a lot,” said the senior. “I would draw pretty much whenever I had the time and then in middle school I realized I was fairly good at art.”
After discovering her potential, Sawyer continued to improve and harness her talent. It was through this process of elaborating her knowledge of the different aspects of art that she came to find her favorite aspect of it all.
“I enjoy imitating the colors that I see,” Sawyer said. “Like taking the colors I see in the picture and trying to find a way to recreate those colors in what I’m doing.”
Sawyer did not hesitate in confirming that she will be carrying on her artistic career into college and eventually settling down with it as her lifelong career.
“I’m thinking of switching into undergrad,” Sawyer said. “But I’m probably going to stay with bachelor in fine arts when I go to UT next year.”
Sawyer accredits that it is definitely necessary to have a good teacher to help show you the ropes of everything involved in mastering the vast category of art. With the right and direct amount of guidance it’s easy to improve on skill.
“Once I got into upper level art it was definitely very helpful,” Sawyer said. “I received more criticism. At lower levels people are just like, ‘Oh good job, that looks great!’ but as you get to that upper level you get more helpful and constructive criticism.”
Sawyer is an artist at heart and mind and is not shy about embracing her talent. She hopes that she will be able to continue growing and produce more art that impacts the people and community around her in a positive way.
Written by Kerry James
Time slowed as DSHS senior, Micah Slaton, focused on keeping his muscles moving through the water during the intense feud. His hard work and determination would soon pay off. With heart still pounding and adrenaline running, Slaton looked to the board that reported the win, which had eluded his grasp the year before. He had just won gold for the UIL State 100m butterfly.
“I was very happy because I choked that event last year,” Slaton said. “It was great to show up this time at finals and have a successful swim.”
Along with snatching the gold, Slaton had also set a new school record and just barely missed setting a new state record by four tenths of a second. He also won silver for the 100m backstroke event.
“It was amazing just to come back this year and have another shot,” Slaton said. “To actually get gold and silver this time made the experience so much sweeter.”
For head DSHS swimming coach, Andrea McCarthy, couldn’t be more proud of her swimmers.
“We had great teams this year, both girls and guys, and they improved tremendously throughout the season,” McCarthy said.
As well as Micah Slaton, DSHS also had freshman Abigail Wilkinson represent the swimming lady Tigers at State.
“Abigail Wilkinson qualified for the 500m freestyle,” said McCarthy. “Both swimmers did extremely well at representing our entire team at State this year.”
Wilkinson, who placed 15th in the 500m freestyle, was extremely grateful to represent the swimming lady Tigers at State this year and to be going along with a seasoned veteran of the team.
“It was a little nerve racking but also really exciting to be able to go to State as a freshman,” said Wilkinson. “It was very comforting to go with a senior who has done it before because I had no idea what to expect.”
Micah is very proud of his teammate and is glad he could be a part in helping mentor the young swimmer.
“This was obviously her first time going to State and I wanted to help make sure she wasn’t getting too nervous,” said Slaton. “I wanted to make sure she had fun with it so that she will be comfortable for when she comes back in the years come.”
Slaton, who has chosen to swim at Missouri, said he’s looking forward to college and is glad to have been a part of the program.
“I’m really excited for the future and the possibility of Olympic trials,” said Slaton. “As I leave the DSHS swimming program, I’m comforted by the fact that I’m leaving the program in a better place than I found it.”