By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Last April, Bella Fox got a chance to perform on the Elsinore Theatre stage at the State Thespian Festival as a cast member of McNary’s production of Defying Gravity.

This year, she has a chance to return as a solo performer.

Fox, a senior at McNary, qualified for state in solo experienced acting at the regional competition on February 3 at South Eugene High School.

“I have an audition slot and then if I do well I get to perform on the Elsinore stage,” said Fox, who did two contrasting monologues, one a contemporary piece from Butterflies Are Free and the other as Calpurnia from Julius Caesar, at regionals in front of three different judges at three separate times.

The qualifying top 10 percent in each category from the regionals audition for the state showcase.

Fox used the competition to help her get ready for college auditions at Southern Oregon University in Ashland and Minnesota State University, Mankato, where she hopes to major in theatre.

“I didn’t expect that I was going to go to state,” Fox said. “I really just wanted to go there for the feedback and try to improve myself for the auditions and really perfect them”

When Fox accepted her ribbon, she thought she was named a regional finalist.

It wasn’t until five minutes later when she looked down at the ribbon and saw it said, “state qualifier.”

“It meant so much,” Fox said. “It was something that I really wanted to get because I’d gone to state last year for Defying Gravity. (I thought) if I can go in a group maybe I can prove to myself that it wasn’t just my cast and myself working towards one goal but I can do it myself. I really strived to become part of that.”

While Fox was the only McNary student to qualify for state, Lilla Seitz and Ingrid Dunn were regional finalists in experienced duo musical and Grace Condello was a regional finalist for solo experienced musical.

The State Thespian Festival, attended by over 1,000 theatre students and teachers from around the state, is April 5-7 in Salem.