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The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

MAST Academy Thespians win 4 Superiors and 1 Excellent rating in State Festival

Shea Stone
Shea Stone and Cova Martinez perform their duet together.

On February 15, five MAST Academy students; Leandra Hall, Shea Stone, Martina Ibrichimova, Cova Martinez, and Gaby Castro entered the Florida State Thespian Festival. The FSTF is a drama competition held every year where schools and individuals represent their states. The five thespians performed as Troupe 7695 and proudly received four Superiors (acting awards)  and one Excellent rating. 

Due to the pandemic, this year the Florida State Thespian Festival was held online. MAST Academy’s Troupe 7695 submitted pieces in the Solo Musical, Duet Musical, and Monologue categories. Each thespian performed their own acts in the Solo Musical and then some of them joined together to perform in the Duets Musical category.

“I performed a solo, as well as a duet with the talented Shea Stone,” Cova Martinez, one of MAST’s five thespians said. 

Just as the competition’s set-up changed in effect of COVID, the thespians’ instructor’s approach changed as well.

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“The feeling of adrenaline you get while performing live wasn’t the same, but Dr. Benton made sure that we were all enthusiastic,” Martinez explained. 

“Making videos with whatever space students have at home was all new to them and to me,” Dr. Cayce Benton, the students’ instructor and FSTF club sponsor said. “Reminding actors to perform to a non visible audience and not just the camera is a whole new world.” Dr. Benton prepared her students the best she could in this strange scenario, giving them materials to study and important recommendations and tips.

“Dr. Benton has worked very hard to make the best out of a year where live performances aren’t possible,” Martina Ibrichimova, MAST Academy thespian said. “She has played different musicals for us and we have completed class assignments that have enabled us to dig deeper into the many components of musical theatre. Also, she had us submit first-ups of the pieces we were going to be sending for the Festival, and gave us feedback on them.” 

Martina Ibrichimova captures the soul of her performance, even with no audience present. Photo by Martina Ibrichimova.
Martina Ibrichimova captures the soul of her performance, even with no audience present. Photo by Martina Ibrichimova.

The pandemic has ruined many things over the past year, but has not affected others. For example, the student’s talent. 

“Performing (…) is about creative, focused intentions in character and honesty in portrayal, which they could do anywhere with a few adjustments and a little rehearsal. The venue doesn’t really matter,” she says.    “Winning four Superiors and one Excellent at States is an incredible achievement for our Troupe 7695, and for MAST as a whole. I believe this reminds us that although MAST is an academically rigorous high school, we not only have brilliant students but also talented and passionate performers,” Ibrichimova said. MAST Academy congratulates Troupe 7695 on their achievements and was honored to be represented in such an important competition.

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About the Contributor
Mercedes Halliburton
Mercedes Halliburton, Managing Editor
Mercedes Halliburton is a senior at MAST Academy. She is in her fourth year at the school, arriving in 2019 from St. Theresa Catholic School. Halliburton enjoys MAST more than her previous school because she believes that there is more freedom. Halliburton likes MAST because she enjoys swimming and water. She also enjoys reading and writing, saying that it is her favorite subject. Her least favorite subject is math, and her hardest year was junior year. She doesn’t have a least favorite teacher and she likes most of the teachers. She also likes MAST because it has a nice view and is so close to the beach. Even though MAST is fun, Halliburton claims it is also a challenging school with many hard classes.
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