Make Way for the Beckman Cappies

Last year’s team of Orange County Cappies pose for a picture together.

Last year’s team of Orange County Cappies pose for a picture together.

Leena Shin, Staff Writer

Lights, camera, action! The Beckman Cappies kick off their 2018-2019 year of reviewing plays and celebrating high school theater and journalism.


“Then he ran into my knife. He ran into my knife, ten times!”


It was at Sunny Hills High School in the city of Fullerton. Filled with jazzy tunes and glittery outfits inspired from the 20’s, the high school drama students of Sunny Hills put on a spectacular of the musical Chicago High School Edition, which starred murderous mistresses and the flashing cameras of the news-hungry press. The Orange County Cappies took up two rows of the seats in the audience. The student reviewers came from different high schools all around the county.


Among the young group of high schoolers sat about eight Beckman Cappies. Later that night, the Beckman Cappies would be discussing about the play and writing reviews to submit, in the hopes that their articles may be published.


The Orange County Cappies is a program that aims to celebrate high school theater and journalism. Once registered into the program, each team of Cappies is assigned four shows. Cappies are given opportunities to volunteer for additional shows. The high school reviewers attend the play on the Cappies Night, which is a special night designated for the Cappies to come and watch the show. Cappies watch the show with praises and criticism in mind and discuss about the show specifically afterwards. Later, they write reviews about the show. There are chances to be published online on the Orange County Cappies Facebook page and even in the Orange County Register.


The program includes events such as a system in which students can be selected for awards, a night for receiving the awards, a gala, and more. High school theater and journalism students join the program in order to celebrate it and learn more about both subjects.




Trees and buildings flashed by the windows. In the car, Bella Kelso, a returning Beckman Cappie and a junior, sang along to several numbers from the long-running broadway show Chicago. “Being someone who is truly passionate about all aspects of theatre, I saw this program as a wonderful opportunity to expose myself to other productions from high schools around me,” Bella commented.


Ryan Puterbaugh, the lead critic of the Beckman Cappies, sat in the front, driving the car and agreed with Bella. “Cappies is easily one of the best programs I’ve ever participated in at school,” Ryan said. For anyone who has even a passing interest in theatre, it is a fantastic opportunity to experience and learn more about it. “You also get to make a bunch of friends from other schools, all of whom share your interest in theatre. As one of Beckman’s lead critics this year, I just love talking with other schools’ teams about their experiences in the program.”  


Cairo Baldy, also a Beckman Cappie and a junior, continued to research more about the musical. I, Leena Shin, sat in between the two juniors, also conducting more research about Chicago before going to watch it at Sunny Hills High School. It was the first team show of the 2018 to 2019 year, and a few members of the Beckman team were carpooling to reach the high school located in Fullerton.


Upon arrival, we exited out of the car and walked into the school to search for the Cappies room. For every Cappies Night, there is a classroom or some sort of room that is designated to be the room that the Cappies would gather in by 6:15 p.m. to write notes about the stage production and the actual play, and discuss about the show after it ends.


I followed the other Beckman Cappies into the classroom. The particular classroom selected seemed to be the theater room. Upon entering the classroom, there were already several other Cappies from other schools chewing on snacks provided and sipping sodas and water. Among the desks, there were various electronic devices scattered with name tags corresponding with each device. To give more information about the process of making the show to the Cappies, the school hosting the show provides more background details about different aspects of the stage preparations, such as the lights, the costumes, the makeups, the stage props, the choreographies, and more.


I greeted the other Beckman Cappies as they filed into the room. Elaine Vo, a junior and a Beckman Cappie, was also experiencing her first official Cappie show like I was. “I thought the program was really interesting because it provided an opportunity for different theater programs nearby to connect with each other,” Elaine said. “Just being able to see other high school’s shows is really cool to me because you get the chance to see what other schools are doing and how our [shows] compare.”


The Cappies program helped theater and drama students at Beckman to take the experiences they received as reviewers and apply it into their own lives. “Cappies is even better than I expected it to be,” Bella said. “It has created wonderful opportunities for me to grow as an actor, and has motivated me to better improve our tech categories at our own school.” Bella talked about how the program helped her to notice things she would normally not notice from the audience, and to better appreciate all that goes into creating a show. “Cappies has also created the amazing opportunity to expose our school and theatre program and has motivated more Beckman students to get involved in putting together our shows.”


After settling down, I pulled out a few pieces of paper and began to move around the room, stopping to sit by devices and look through the presentations. Most were slideshows, some were Google Docs. I looked through the information, taking notes about how much of the production was student made and the processes the actors and actresses went through in order to perfect their show. After visiting all the categories, I sat down in a desk and snacked on some cookies and a can of Sprite while waiting for the meeting to officially begin.


The meeting began and two of the student leaders that helped to make the show came into the room, welcoming the Cappies and explaining about the processes of the show. Some Cappies rose their hands in order to ask more questions. After the initial opening meeting was over, the Cappies were escorted to their seats.


Upon entering the theater, I noticed first the visuals of the stage, the dim lighting, and the music softly playing in the background. The stage was very simply, with just a train track draping across the stage. The music playing reminded me of the music you would hear when walking through Main Street of Disneyland. After sitting in my seat and waiting for a couple of minutes, the show began. I did not have much experience with theater, so I was not really sure what to expect. The show was enjoyable however, and I tried to carefully observe the show from the perspective of a reviewer rather than a casual watcher.


When intermission arrived, which is the break that the actors and actresses take halfway through the show, the Cappies were escorted back to the Cappies room. When I entered the classroom again, I immediately sat down and began to rapidly jot down a bunch of notes of what I observed in the show. The other Cappies did the same, and there was little to no chatter in the room. After the short break, we were escorted back to our seats to watch the remainder of the show.


When the show officially ended, we were once again escorted to the Cappies room to discuss about the play. I personally did not participate in the discussion because I wanted to observe the atmosphere first; I was so busy in taking notes about what everyone was saying. Cappies are only supposed to write about what was discussed in the discussion in their reviews. There were many praises and criticisms that were discussed in the play about the usage of lighting, the acting and singing of the performers, the stage props, and more.


After the discussion ended, I followed the students I came with and we drove back home. I wrote my review the next day and submitted it into the Cappies website. Although my review was not chosen for publication, the experience was exciting and new for me. I believe that the Cappies program will help me to gain more experience in new fields such as theater and gain more experience in fields that I already have experience with, such as journalism. There are more opportunities coming up to seize and the journey will start up again at Nov. 17 with another show.