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The Hawkeye

“Zombie Prom” receives honorable mention from 5th Avenue Theatre

By Annika Prom, Lifestyle Editor

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The drama department received an honorable mention by 5th Avenue Theatre for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Group. The recognition was dedicated to the roles of the Motorwise Guys, played by juniors Matt Correa and Flynn Thomas, in the musical “Zombie Prom” which premiered in January.

5th Avenue is a Seattle based group that seeks to nurture and preserve musicals. The awards are a way the organization “honors outstanding achievement in high school musical theater and celebrates the hard work and dedication students and educators put forth to make their school productions a success,” according to their official website.

As “Zombie Prom” was the first production for many of the participants, the cast faced tough times but they were “lifting each other up” to maintain positivity.

“Every night saying ‘let’s kill the show’ or ‘let’s knock them dead,’ all that stuff, it gave us more confidence,” Thomas said. “Realizing that we ended getting an honorable mention that night out of the whole ensemble was pretty neat.”

Correa and Thomas had one and a half months to prepare for their scenes as the Motorwise Guys, but they didn’t know their choreography until opening night.

“We’re awesome. Let’s just say that. We were vibing off of each other, we had a good chemistry,” Correa said.

Furthermore, the Motorwise Guys didn’t have defined names or written personalities. Correa said it was an opportunity to “create your own character.”

“I feel like we wore our characters well,” Thomas said. “We were sort of riding on the coast of ‘yes, we’re in character,’ but we were also self aware that we’re in a play.”

They took advantage of the opportunity by going from “silly weirdness that seemed like it was pulled out of a 90s commercial into something that was fun that the audience liked,” he continued. After countless rehearsals, Correa and Thomas forgot the jokes were funny until they heard the audience laugh.

“The fact that we were having fun, the fact that we expressed it through loudness of motion, not just voices, that just helped us win the love of the audience and I guess, 5th Avenue,” Thomas said.

The 5th Avenue judges viewed “Zombie Prom” on a Tuesday, which turned out to be a shaky performance as about eight people forgot their lines, the cue text kept “screwing up” and someone was absent. Thomas gave an uneasy look to Correa during the show and Correa returned a look that apparently said “we have to steal the show.”

They played off the audience’s energy and initiated the “player-audience connection” by continuing to be as ridiculous as possible. Because the audience is “told to sit there and be quiet,” as Thomas explained, the two had to engage them by exaggerating their roles.

“The character comes on and the audience plays off that. Their laughing or their happy energy just radiates back to me and makes me more energetic and it goes back to them and it goes back and forth and we’re just raising each other until the show blows up into applause at the end of the song,” Thomas said.

Though Thomas described that showing as everything “going wrong,” the Motorwise Guys put on a performance to distract the audience from the mishaps.

“They went nuts over that number. I didn’t feel the best about that specific night because I forgot my choreography in a couple of different places. I was like ‘I just want this number to be over’ but then I heard the applause just going nuts,” Correa said.

The “Zombie Prom” experience affirmed Correa’s love for theater because his role as a Motorwise Guy allowed him to interpret his character openly and turn the show around.

“Theater is magical, man. If you let it, it’s like one of the best things that will happen to you,” Correa said.

At first, Thomas was upset at being assigned a minor role in the play. But he took the chance to make the most of his role and the honorable mention showed him that “you can make that role a big role. You can make a role bigger than the rest of the play.” With that mindset, Thomas took to make the Motorwise Guys’ scene one of the most memorable parts of “Zombie Prom.”

“I realized ‘you know, what if I just put every fragment of energy into this one dumb role?’ We can make it that better of a show, and we did,” he said.

The evaluators of 5th Avenue Theatre viewed 122 high school productions throughout the year. The accompanying awards ceremony will take place on Monday, June 12 at Benaroya Hall.

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The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.
“Zombie Prom” receives honorable mention from 5th Avenue Theatre