CATA wins theater awards for second year

Nov. 12, 2012 @ 09:14 AM

Students at Central Academy of Technology and Performing Arts have, for the second year, garnered awards at the North Carolina Theatre Conference Regional Play Festival and will advance to state finals. 

Their production of "The Crane Wife" advanced to state finals. The CATA students will be defending their title, as their production of "For Colored Girls..." won last year. 

The finals will be held November 15 and 16 at Greensboro College. The students will be performing the show before they travel to states on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at CATA. The performance is a final preparation and a way to raise money to pay for their trip, Larry Robinson, a theater teacher at CATA, said. 

"The Crane Wife," a Japanese folk story about a Japanese peasant and his devoted wife, features the work of students in the performing arts and pre-engineering academies.

A class of primarily seniors performed "The Magdalen Whitewash."

Robinson chose the piece after attending a workshop over the summer for a play festival. He began looking for material that was different and looking for children's literature. 

"This is a powerful story," Robinson said. 

CATA earned 13 awards for their two performances, including design awards. Junior Nkeki Obi-Melekwe won the Outstanding Actress award. She received that award last year at the state finals at the the ten-state festival. 

The students began working on their performances in the beginning of September. 

"I knew they would be strong," Robinson said. "I didn't know how strong they would be." 

Robinson suspected they would be in contention for an award. 

For all the students, except Obi-Melekwe, it was their first time at the festival. 

"It was awesome," one student said. 

The group agreed that it was fun, but can be frustrating. They are excited to compete at the state level. 

Sophomore Kevin Kent plays the male lead in "The Crane Wife." It is his first time participating in the festival, he has done musicals in the past. 

He was surprised to be cast in the lead role. He plays Kokuro, a Japanese peasant who saves a crane and later marries. 

Students with the pre-engineering academy created a large, white crane puppet. It is operated by students using poles to make it flap its wings and fly about the stage. 

The trip to the state championship will cost about $2,000. Robinson is hoping that the performance Tuesday, Nov. 13 will help raise most of those funds.