Love of theater at CORE of students' endeavor

Colfax High group putting together production of 'Animal Crackers'
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What: Colfax High School student play

When: 7 p.m. May 2-4 and 9-11; 2 p.m. May 4 and 11

Where: Colfax High School Performing Arts Center

Tickets: Students, $5; adults; $10.

With a little help from their friends, laughter will soon fill Colfax High School’s Performing Arts Center.

These days, students in the Creators of Riveting Entertainment group – or CORE – are working their creative skills building sets for the upcoming Marx Brothers musical production of “Animal Crackers.”

Building the set to perfection takes a lot of knowledge in construction, lighting and costume design. With talents from students in the Technical Theater Class, the show is shaping up to be a class act. Students from the class are learning real-life skills that are taking them to some competitive colleges where they hope to advance their dreams into a career one day.

Construction comes easily to Chris Schmidt, C.O.R.E. scenic designer and technical director. Having a great-grandfather who led a construction crew on the building of Candlestick Park, Schmidt is hoping to pursue production designing and technology with an emphasis on scenic design when entering into college this fall.  As of April, Schmidt has been accepted into Fullerton State in Southern California and has been waitlisted into his top choice, Emerson College in Boston.

Acting in the past eight shows at Colfax Hias has given Schmidt the knowledge of set design. Schmidt built four of the sets for production, including some for “Animal Crackers.” He also built sets at the Nevada Theater in Nevada City and used a technical painting design similar to that in the feature film “The Hobbit.”

“I was more or less just an actor in my freshman year, and then there was a summer play which I didn’t get a part in, so I was offered to do technical work and I was in charge of design, production, construction, and everything that was involved with building a set,” said Schmidt, referring his work on “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

Maddison Young, another Colfax High senior, was inspired as a freshman in the technical aspect of lighting. She said she never really took to acting; instead, she focused her energy on bringing the stage to life by learning all she could on how lighting worked. Now, with several productions behind her, and putting the final touches on this year’s production of “Animal Crackers,” the senior is looking past graduating and moving on to college. Even though she was offered a $20,000 scholarship to one school, it was Boston’s Emerson College that enticed the senior the most.  “I started tech in my freshman year.  I didn’t know much about it, and it seemed interesting to me, so I got serious in my sophomore year,” Miller said. 

Young is an avid Harry Potter fan, both in film and books. Her career plans include obtaining a bachelor of fine arts degree in theater design with an emphasis on lighting design. She plans to pursue a career in cinema production. In her spare time, Young dabbles in painting, prints, sculpting and papier mache. 

Lighting design and set design are part of the process, and there is also costume design. Former Colfax High student Shelby Pujol, who is finishing up at Sierra College, is just about to head off to college in the fall to continue her education at the California Institute of the Arts in Southern California. Pujol will focus her energy on creating costumes with aspirations of designing clothes for stage productions.

Though the she graduated from Colfax High in 2011, Pujol still gives back to the school. “I am still involved with C.O.R.E. this year, I am making curtains for Animal Crackers,” she said.