Investigating Forensic Theater


Mac McDonald

Forensics is commonly known for criminal justice and dead bodies. However, in West Ottawa Theater the word Forensics has a completely different meaning. “The National Forensics Association is an organization in which high schools and colleges perform a variety of public performances such as speech, debate, storytelling, dramatic interpretation, prose interpretation, interpretation of poetry, and the like,” Theater Instructor Patrick Foley said. Right after the curtain closes on the West Ottawa High School winter play, a smaller show for kids begins.

    “This will be the sixth year that the Herrick Library has invited our West Ottawa Forensics Team to perform children’s stories during their ‘Children’s Week’. This has always taken place during Spring Break when most of our kids in the community are home from school. We have a Forensics team here at West Ottawa High School which performs Storytelling and Poetry Interpretation. Each year the Forensics Team chooses several children’s stories to perform on stage,” Foley said.

     The Forensics team is a No-Audition required show, which means anyone can be part of the cast. “ My older sister encouraged me to do Forensics. I think it’s more fun because I didn’t have to audition to be a part of the cast,” Frosh. Tegan McDonald said.

    “ We are natural actors at heart. Students discover new dimensions of themselves by working with others to create characters on stage. For many students, acting is their passion. For other students, Forensics is a fun way to meet new friends and work together toward a final performance.  Much like the art of theater, Forensics is another form of ‘performance’ art. If students are interested in becoming better actors – they need to perform as often as they possibly can in order to further develop their performance skills,” Foley said.

   For some of the team members, this will be their first time performing on stage. Soph. Nadiya Myronets, a foreign exchange student from Ukraine, has been attending Drama Club. “My awesome friend Mac inspired me to join Forensics team. She always inspires me to do things, because she is very smart and nice. I’m not really nervous about performing at the library. It’s for children and they’re a usually a friendly audience,” said Myronets. Frosh. Carrie Broesma has been coming to Drama Club and is now participating in Forensics. “My friend Tegan said Forensics was fun and you get to perform children’s stories at the library for young children”. Broesma said. “My favorite story is Sneeches because I love Dr.Seuss and the way he writes,” Broesma said.

   You may not recognize some team members in the hallway but the Forensics Team is a tight-knit family like any other cast.“Forensics means a lot to me. I love how close the team gets during the rehearsals and performances, however short they may last. But everyone there makes a little family, and I recognize and say hi to everyone that was on the team afterward,” Jr. Sophia Ort said.

   During the Fall musical and Winter play, Ort usually does tech for those shows. But for Ort, Forensic Theatre is very special. “ I love the people you meet in Foley’s shows. There are the old faces, and always one or two newcomers. And the performance at the library is loads of fun, and it’s great to make everyone there so happy. It’s certainly made me more confident with actually interacting with folks I didn’t meet in elementary and middle school, and more used to and comfortable with performing.” Ort said.

  The Forensics Team is like any other team or cast at West Ottawa. The West Ottawa Forensics Team will perform at the Herrick Library on April 1. Their first show is at 10:00 am and the second show is at 1:00. The show is best suited for younger children ages 2 – 7.