This year’s Maine Drama Festival’s one-act competition does not begin until the second weekend of March, but the Waldo County contestants, as is their tradition, will put their entries on the road the week before. The annual three-school tour is set for Thursday through Saturday, March 2 through 4, at 6:30 p.m.

The shows, which will include all three schools’ one-act play set-up and performance, will take place Thursday in the Clifford Performing Arts Center of Mount View High School, Route 220 in Thorndike; Friday at Searsport District High School, 24 Mortland Road; and Saturday at Belfast Area High School, 98 Waldo Ave. A donation of $5 is requested at the door.

As is often the case — albeit not last winter — snowstorms have wreaked havoc all round on rehearsals and set building. The school tour helps these troupes stay on target … and get everyone on the stage together (sometimes for the first time).


Searsport senior MacKenzie Philbrick said she “wanted to write something that would make people say ‘wow’” when she penned “The Cost of A Drive,” inspired by play she’d read that had had that effect on her, as well as plays, books, movies and songs of a similar theme.

“It is meant to be emotional, and I wrote it with the idea of impacting the audience,” she said the week before the three-school tour.

Philbrick said she wrote the original text in less than three weeks and sent it off to the Write On! Student Playwriting Project competition without much editing or expectations.

“I had only shown a partial scene to one person before sending it in, 'cause I knew that the play was kind of dark,” she said.

After “The Cost of A Drive” won first prize and was staged professionally, Philbrick sent it out to publishing companies. After receiving some helpful feedback, she started revisions on it “but kind of put it on the back burner until Ms. Goosman decided to do it for this spring competition.” Philbrick said she worked on it, adding a few additional scenes that had been playing in the back of her mind. She didn't fully finish revisions until after the cast had read through a version of it.

“We've workshopped little things since then, but for the most part, the play is now finished,” she said, adding she has had a publishing offer, but has decided to copyright the play herself and attempt to self-publish.

“I was just really motivated to write something that I thought would make a difference,” she said.

While she’s won an award for her playwriting and has ended up in the director’s chair, Philbrick said what she really likes is producing — bringing all the needed elements together around the stage work. And she’s doing a bit of this for the one-act, handling sound design and makeup on the side. That might be it for a while. Philbrick is headed to college and said she wants to go into international business.

“For the longest time my plans involved learning technical theater or the production of television, and while I still love doing that kind of stuff, I decided to put it on the back burner as far as career plans for now,” she said. “Doesn't mean I won't change my mind and go back to it.”

Mount View is presenting a scene from William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” set in the 1920s. The cast is directed by alum Sara Phillips, stepping in for Drama Adviser Angela Nason, who also is doing the costumes. Otherwise, the entry is all student-driven. Cast members are Jakob Sutton, Hannah Clifford, Eddie Angelo, Francesca Davies, Cameron Morin and Myah Hatfield. Crew members are Cate Arthars, Tobin Pontillo, Ben Troutman, Tom Angelo, Hailee Macomber and Connor Dodge.

Mount View is scheduled to compete in Class B Saturday, March 11, at noon at Camden Hills Regional High School.

Searsport is competing with a student-written and co-directed play — a play that already is an award winner. SDHS senior MacKenzie Philbrick’s “The Cost of A Drive” follows six teenagers through the events of a car crash, exploring how mistakes behind the wheel can be fatal and what the consequences for those who survive can be. The short play won the Theater at Monmouth’s Write On! Student Playwriting Project competition a couple of years ago (see the sidebar).

Philbrick is co-directing this production with SDHS faculty member Chris Goosman, as well as handling several tech roles. Cast members are Paige Ireland, Cole Dubois, Meghan Grant, Holden Clapp, Lauren Burkard, Colby Johnson, Kaylee Knowles, Steven Courtney, Colby Johnson, Eran Raines and Ashley Harriman. Crew includes George Dakin, Vic Wilbur, Esme Freeman, Sheryl Bowen, Hannah Nadeau and (adult) Chip Curry.

Searsport will be competing in the regional at Oceanside High School, scheduled to present its Class B one-act Saturday, March 11, at 5:30 p.m.

Belfast competes in the larger Class A and its cast and crew reflect that bounty of talent. Faculty member Sonja Richardson is directing their entry, “The 9 Worst Breakups Of All Time” by Ian McWethy. The comedy comprises a series of short scenes with titles such as “Money Can’t Buy Love, But It Can Buy A Ritzy Tomato With Gams From Here To Timbuktu.”

Cast members are Maximillian Howard, Cassandra Cunningham, Eilha Silveira-Charbonnier, Audrey Richdale, Arthur Sollitt, Charles Lagerbom, Brittany Steele, Sydney Densmore, Quinnten Silveira-Charbonnier, William Bickford, Laila Al-Matrouk, Alyssa Limeburner, Aiden Pike, Victoria Curtis, Harrison Merchant, Macartney Wyatt, Oceana Pacholski, Donald Patten, Mercedez Whitmore, Leaf Rorick, Bryan Spaulding and Cassandra Cunningham.

A number of the actors play multiple roles, and more than a few also serve as members of the production crew. Other crew members include Quentin Marriner, Andy McBride, Jess Tucker, Ayla Fitzjurls, Jordyn Brewer, Skye Fountaine, Emily Harriman, Shera Hilt, Kiara Lantigua, Tara O’Donovan, Sophie Richdale, Genevieve Schortz, Rowan Walsh and Chris Spellman.

Use of music in the competition has strict parameters. BAHS’ one-act includes an original music composition by Aiden Pike and Alyssa Limeburner. Backup singers are Sydney Densmore, Oceana Pacholski, Donald Patten, Leaf Rorick, Brittany Steele and Mercedez Whitmore.

Belfast is the only Midcoast school not competing in one of the two Midcoast regionals. The troupe is scheduled to present its one-act Saturday, March 11, at 2 p.m. at Mount Desert Island High School.

For more information on the upcoming regional weekend, visit the “medramafest” Facebook page.