Caleb and Lucas Conley love to make people laugh, so much so that the cousins recently won the State Acting Competition in the category of Duo Comedy.
The cousins, both students at Stayton High School, will now take their act to the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Neb. on June 20.
“The festival is held on the University of Nebraska – Lincoln campus each year,” said Alyssa Rieger, SHS English teacher and drama director/advisor. “Students from all over the world attend.”
The Conley boys performed their winning pitch, “Words, Words, Words” by David Ives, at the Southern Oregon Regional competition in February, earning first place.
“I cut their script to showcase their vocal and physical comedy skills most efficiently and effectively,” Rieger said.
According to the competition’s rules, scripts must be a maximum of 5 minutes with a 30-second grace period.
The boys performed at the State Thespian Festival in Salem. Caleb and Lucas once again earned top scores and earned the privilege of performing on the historic Elsinore Theatre stage, dazzling a crowd of about 800 theater students, teachers and chaperones with their witty banter, Rieger said.
“Now the three of us will travel to Lincoln to spend five and a half days acting and viewing the best student theater in the world this year!” she said.
But the boys are just boys, when all is said and done. Caleb’s favorite things are girls, strawberries and the Pittsburg Steelers. The 17-year-old SHS senior got involved with theater and comedy via his parents.
“My dad directed and Mom played piano in musicals,” he said, adding he wants to attend the University of Oregon.
Lucas, 16 and an SHS junior, likes playing tennis, and has been acting since he was a young boy.
“Uncle Les and my older brother, Brunk, were involved in theater and sparked my interest,” he said.
After high school, Lucas wants to attend college to study science.
Meanwhile, the cousins are having fun making people laugh. They rehearsed for about month prior to their winning streak, but “really put vigorous effort in the last couple of weeks,” Rieger said.
Ask the two for a one-liner from their routine and they’ll say in unison: “Life is like a box of chocolates ….”
“That’s what you get for asking teenage boys a one-liner!” Rieger said laughing.
The boys admit that being cousins makes it easier to connect, giving them a leg up in performing.
“We’ve been friends since infancy,” Caleb said.
“It makes chemistry easy,” Lucas added.
The two advise other teens interested in pitching comedy to go for it.
“Be a big personality,” Caleb advised.
“Just have fun with it!” Lucas added.
The budding comedy duo love drama, and can be seen with other actors in shows next year at Stayton High School, Rieger said.
While in Nebraska, the Conleys can participate in activities, such as workshops and master classes, a student leadership program, auditions for college admission and Thespian scholarships and the Thespian Playworks student playwriting program.