S-P-A-M! (Also known as a theatre kid’s mascot)

Not many things can easily excite a person…ok, maybe not with a group of theatre kids. But who would have thunk a can of “pork with ham, salt, and water (good until 2013)” would become our group mascot for the week. Let me back track, to the question of “Why do theatre kids need a mascot?! And why aren’t you just a wildcat?!

One of the many activities for a person to attend at KCACTF is the ‘Stage Crew Showdown’ for all of the technicians who tend to not get the recognition they deserve. In this competition, schools can enter teams of four people to participate in rounds of theatre tech relays. Baker University’s first-ever team consists of  “Shakes” Andrew Simons, Peri Montgomery, Alexa Cioffe, and Megan Nelson. There you have it, SPAM. So naturally, being theatre kids, one of us had the inginunity to attach a pair of goog-ly eyes to a can of the meat by-product, name him Stanley, and give him life for the competition.

Tonight was just the beginning of the festival. Upon arriving in Ames, Iowa, we found ourselves checking in, checking out the rooms we’ll be competing in for the Irene Ryan competition, and then checking out the many workshops we can attend during the week. After the opening ceremony for the festival, BU-SPAM and those cheering in the crowd made our way to “the arena,” a small theatre on the Iowa State University campus where SPAM competed against 14 other teams in the first two rounds. Relay 1: Hang and focus a lighting instrument, correctly, safley, and in the shortest amount of time. Relay 2: Hang a curtain from a baton, correctly, in the fastest time taking into consideration tool safety when cutting lashing rope into the correct length.

SPAM fought hard. Amongst fierce competitors such as “Team Death,” “Don’t Touch Me,” and “Team Ramrod,” SPAM held its own, and finished the first relay with the whole room cheering in a solid voice “SPAM! SPAM! SPAM!” So now all we can do is wait until tomorrow to see if SPAM’s time qualifies for further competition.

Fellow Irene Ryan nominee Patrick King and I begin our journey bright and early with the 9 a.m. round; Heather Wickman at 10; and Aaron Schopper at 11. At approximately 2 p.m. we’ll hear who has qualified to move into our semi-finals round. There is a 21 percent chance of one of us continuing as the preliminary round holds 296 nominees with their partners, which will then be narrowed to a mere 64 for semifinals. Can we do it? I have no doubt. We’ve been thoroughly trained over the last few months. We’re like a warrior on the eve of battle! We’ll be there till the end! Or 2013! Or at least till May 22nd, 2011 (that’s my graduation day : ) ).



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