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Cove High students to compete at International Thespian Festival


Special to Leader-Press 


Copperas Cove High School senior Parker Reed and CCHS 2020 graduate Marissa Barker performed together for the first time at the S. C. Lee Junior High and entered the talent show. 

Fast-forward five years and the duo are competing together one last time as Barker heads to college and Reed begins her final year of high school.

The two CCHS Dawghouse Theater thespians compete on Saturday at the International Thespian Festival after winning the Texas contest earlier this Spring.  The conference and competition were slated for Indianapolis, Indiana. But, the pandemic forced the event to be held virtually, leaving Reed and Barker to submit video performances rather than perform live in front of a panel of adjudicators.

“One of the biggest obstacles that I had to conquer in the creation of my audition video was the presentation of emotions,” Reed said. “I know how to portray and project a character’s emotions to a live audience. But when behind the screen, I felt my performance may appear flat. The video has required many takes and attempts to ensure my entry portrays the same emotions I display in person. But, I believe I have done that to the best of my ability.”

More than 2,300 thespians from around the globe will compete at the summer’s premier teen theatre festival. 

Reed is one of only a few hundred who are competing for a Thespy award, offered only to students inducted into the International Thespian Society. The educational program offers constructive feedback on prepared theatrical material and technical designs. Students who achieve overall superior ratings and earn the top scores in their respective categories at the International Thespian Festival earn International Thespian Excellence Awards.

“I expect to gain valuable information from the virtual conference and all of the workshops it offers,” Reed said. “My expectations are not lowered from before the transition from in-person to online because I know that the amazing people running the Thespian Society and the International Thespian Festival will not disappoint me. 

“As for the competition aspect of this transition, it has been nothing less than difficult. Between all of the technical aspects and inconvenience and the disadvantage of performing behind the screen rather than in person, I have had a little bit of a rough time. However, my hopes are high for my piece that I have submitted.”

Reed was inducted into the International Thespian Society as at the end of her high school freshman year. As a high school junior this past year, Reed was one of less than two percent of high school students selected for the Texas All-State High School Choir as a treble. She began acting in theater productions at age 9 and began vocal lessons at age 12. Reed’s performances can be seen live on stage at Vive Les Arts in the production of Matilda July 10-19.

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