The 2018 regional competition of the Maine Drama Festival took place Friday and Saturday, March 9 and 10, at nine high schools across the state. Eight Midcoast high schools participated, assigned to the two local sites: Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro and Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport.

At the Camden Hills Regional, Bonny Eagle won Class A, and Camden Hills was the runner-up. In Class B, Bucksport was the winner, and Searsport District High School the runner-up.

Camden Hills’ troupe is directed by Thomas Heath, who, as sites coordinator, organizes the statewide fest. The school’s Strom Auditorium, ideally suited in both audience and technical capacities, has hosted either a regional or state final for years. Camden Hills opened its final session with a festival favorite, “The Idiot and The Oddity,” a demanding comedy that pokes fun at everyone from Aphrodite to Zeus.

The Camden Hills troupe received Judges’ Commendations for Set Design (Sol Caponigro) and Set Construction. Performers Abi Hammond, Elaine Landry, Robbie Carroll and Lindsey Reilly were named to the All Festival Cast.

Searsport director Chris Goosman said her troupe’s performance of “A Fish in Her Kettle,” a Course Acting take on a classic French farce, on opening night was the best it has been in a week of public performances.

The Searsport District High School ensemble received a Judges’ Commendation for Best Use of Set. Performers Holden Clapp, Colby Johnson and Emma Spiegel were named to the All Festival Cast.

At Medomak, Lincoln Academy won in Class A, with Medomak Valley being the runner-up. In Class B, Winthrop was the winner, with Wiscasset the runner-up.

This was the first time Medomak Valley had hosted in more than a dozen years. The Saturday night session there filled every seat and then some. Both sites saw schools pushing the 40-minute time limit. Plays ranged from fully staged classic drama to minimalist comedy.

Medomak Valley High School received a Judges’ Commendation for Lighting (Danica Juntura). Performers Wyatt Sykes, Hailie Brown and Catherine Shelmerdine were named to the All Festival Case.

Medomak Valley’s “The Butterfly Queen” was one of many plays that came with warnings of adult themes, gunshots and screams. Mount View’s mix of “Urban Legends” maybe should have come with an anti-smoking warning. It was the only production of the two Midcoast regionals to be student-directed.

Mount View High School received a Judges’ Commendation for Student Director (Francie Davies). Performers Jakob Sutton and Hannah Clifford were named to the All Festival Case.

This year marked the second time Oceanside director Alison Machaiek has brought “Variations on Friar John’s Failure” to the fest. Her students displayed both an ease with Shakespeare and an embrace of physical comedy.

Oceanside High School received two Judges’ Commendations for Set Design & Construction (Casey Pine and Erin Dugan). Performers Robert Scott, Myla Ferland and Elliot Spear were named to the All Festival Cast.

Also at Medomak, Belfast Area High School’s “The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon” was a boisterous comedy that spilled into the audience. Belfast received four Judges’ Commendations for Makeup (Alyssa Limeburner, Emily Wakeman, Jordyn Brewer and Olivia Andrews). Performers Jordyn Brewer and Oceana Pacholski-Proctor were named to the All Festival Cast.

The Fox Island schools competed in the daytime session at Camden Hills. Vinalhaven, led by Medomak Valley alum Chloe Keller, set Chekov’s “The Bear” in the Wild West, as well as switching the genders of the leading characters. The small troupe showed similar flexibility, having switched plays less than a week before the competition. Perhaps that is why the ensemble received a Judges’ Commendation for Perseverance.

North Haven’s troupe drew whoops and applause while setting up its cleverly simple set for "In the Tank." Black posts and beams represented the outline of a restaurant seafood tank, but it was the stand-up diver and treasure chest that really cemented the impression, as did the banded lobster claws of the two-person cast’s costumes. North Haven’s ensemble received a Judges’ Commendation for Original Performance.

Statewide regional results are posted on the Maine Drama Festival’s Facebook page. The state finals will be held Friday and Saturday, March 23 and 24. Class A will be at Windham High School and Class B will be at Oceanside.