International Thespian Society Members Compete and Make It to State

Seleste Maldonado Ruiz, Staff Reporter

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  • Junior Ashley Nelson started practicing makeup and design about six years ago, and her talent for it has qualified her for the state and international competitions of the technical category in the International Thespian Society.

  • Senior William Clem has always had interest in construction, carpentry, and design, so when he was asked to create the set for the winter show “Clue,” he was able to further put that interest into action and qualify for state as a result.

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On Feb. 4, senior William Clem and junior Ashley Nelson competed in the technical theater category at the International Thespian Society (ITS) regionals competition which took place at Oregon City High School.

Last year was La Salle’s inaugural year for the International Thespian Society — an honors society for participants in theater all around the world. Each high school’s group of participants has a troupe of their own.

La Salle’s troupe has 27 members.

The ITS competition consists of different categories that inducted members of the group can compete in. Some of these categories include technical theater, musical theater, and acting. 

The technical theater category is a category that automatically qualifies for state, allowing those who go through it to skip the regional competition. However, Clem and Nelson used regionals to get early entry feedback on their work.

Joining last year as a provisional member of the ITS, Clem was elected as the president of the troupe by the rest of the members last spring. 

As president, Clem’s responsibilities include organizing meetings, events, and activities, while also communicating with other leaders and building a strong sense of community.

“A big part is trying to foster community and welcome new people and freshmen and try to get more people to join,” Clem said.

Not only has Clem played a role in the ITS as the president of La Salle’s troupe, but he has also been a competitor. 

“My submission was the scenic design that I had made for ‘Clue’ that consisted of the concept sketches that I had made as well as any inspiration, ideas, and visions that the directors had given me, as well as a physical model, [a] scale model,” Clem said.

After completing his portfolio and turning it in at the regional competition, the judges reviewed it and gave him feedback.

Going through a similar process, Nelson, who was initiated into the ITS at the end of last year as a sophomore and began as a member this year, submitted her makeup design portfolio at regionals as well.

“I get a rubric for makeup design, and I get a binder, and I basically do five different makeup looks and designs that I designed myself, and I write up the step-by-step directions like all the details, my inspirations, etcetera.,” Nelson said.

Nelson, getting a perfect score on her portfolio, was able to also qualify for internationals. 

As a harsh self critic and a first time applicant, Nelson went into regionals with no expectations of qualifying for state and internationals.

Nelson said that she is thrilled about what is to come, especially since she has always had interest in makeup and design, and doing both has always been fun for her. 

While awaiting the state competition in April, both Clem and Nelson have expressed their hopes of gaining experience and their excitement for the competition.

“We didn’t go last year, so I think it’ll be a lot of fun,” Clem said.