TP thespians set sights on Edinburgh festival

Eighteen actors from the Torrey Pines Players will perform in the Fringe American High School Theatre Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, this summer.

With over a thousand performing companies, it's the largest arts festival in the world. The Torrey Pines Players competed against 2,500 schools nationwide and were one of 47 picked to go overseas.

Of course, going to Scotland will take some funds and the Players are working hard to raise the money.

Several students have part-time jobs and are raising money through recycling - which brought in $400 so far. The goal is to raise $15,000.

The Torrey Pines Foundation can help, but donations must be earmarked for the Players and their Edinburgh trip.

"It's a trip of a lifetime to go to Edinburgh," Theater Director Marinee Payne said. "I don't want kids not to be able to go because they can't afford it."

Rockin' in Scotland

This is the second time that Torrey Pines will go to Edinburgh - Payne took the first group in 2006. In Scotland the students will perform four 90-minute shows as well as two street performances.

"I'm still comprehending the fact that we get to go," sophomore Akaina Ghosh said. "I'm so incredibly excited."

Ghosh, of Carmel Valley, is also excited about performing William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Of course the Players will put their own spin on the classic - the plan is to perform it as a rock opera with original music composed by junior Michael Dashefsky.

Dashefsky said his musical vision resembles splashes of Broadway hit "Spring Awakening" and "Rent" with a classic rock feel.

"I'm really excited to see how it will all turn out," Dashefsy said.

Challenging theater

Currently, students are in rehearsals for their February production of "Sweeney Todd."

Payne had 67 students audition and had to whittle the cast down to 20.

"The talent at this high school is absolutely amazing," Payne said. She said the excellence art program often gets lost among the school's academic and athletic achievements.

Payne pushes the students to perform in challenging plays. Their last two productions were "Candide" and "The School for Scandal."

"The reason I do that is a little selfish. I don't want to get bored," Payne said. "I really like to stretch these kids and make them realize what they think might not be possible is possible."

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