Otter Valley theater group perform their own work

BRANDON — The Otter Valley Union High School Walking Stick Theater group is used to excelling in the arena of high school drama. Under the guidance of director Jeff Hull, the group has earned accolades statewide for its work in one-act plays and musicals. And in 2015, there was international praise as well, as the troupe was invited to the renowned International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
But this year, Walking Stick has created an original one-act performance piece unlike anything they’ve done before, and the work is getting noticed.
“Inevitable” began as a series of workshops and discussions last fall. Hull said the students wanted to create a piece they felt was an important issue facing many of today’s teenagers — identity crisis.
But “Inevitable” takes that issue a step further, boiling it down to the difficult topic of teenage sexuality.
At a time in a young person’s development when they are trying to figure out who they are and who they will become, “Inevitable” dramatizes the many forces, both internal and external, that force and challenge a young person to seek the answers to these questions.
The play explores this topic in a non-traditional theatrical style called “physical theater.” This is a genre of theatrical performance that tells the story primarily through physical means, or movement. There is very little dialogue. The actors must rely on movement and facial expression to convey the emotional story.
“The company chose to take on this modern style and challenge themselves as artists and individuals,” Hull said.
The music was provided by Fesliyan Studios of Sacramento, Calif. The dialogue was provided by Northern Arizona University’s office of LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Allies) Resources and Support.
The result is a riveting performance that was unveiled this past Friday at Otter Valley for the grade 9-12 student body. On Saturday, Walking Stick performed “Inevitable” at the Vermont Regional One-Act Festival at Long Trail School in Dorset. The piece has now been chosen for the State Drama Festival on April 8 and 9 at St. Johnsbury Academy.

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