Camden Hills, Vinalhaven named runners-up

Oceanside, Searsport win in drama regional

By Dagney C. Ernest | Mar 11, 2017
Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest The Searsport cast and crew relax in the Saturday afternoon session; they competed that evening to win first place in Class B.

Maine Drama Festival 2017 held regional competitions at nine schools March 10 and 11, including two on the Midcoast. Most of the participating schools placed in the top three; and two are going on to the state finals

The traditional Midcoast Regional at Oceanside High School in Rockland concluded early Saturday evening with an awards ceremony that revealed the host troupe as winner in Class A (525 students or more) and Searsport District High School as winner in Class B (fewer than 525). Erskine Academy (A) and Vinalhaven High School (B) were named runners-up/alternates. Eight schools competed at Oceanside, judged by Liz Rollins, Joshua Hurd and Midge Merrill Pomerleau.

Two of the three local entries at Oceanside were original plays. Oceanside’s “Nuggets!” is a rollicking pirate tale incorporating live fiddle playing, sword fighting, terrible puns and a two-story set. The comedy was written by drama director Alison Machaiek and cast. Searsport’s “The Cost of a Drive” is a sobering examination of the aftermath of a terrible car accident, written a couple of years ago by senior MacKenzie Philbrick, who codirected with drama director Chris Goosman.

Vinalhaven’s “Brilliant Traces,” written by Cindy Lou Johnson and directed by drama teacher Chloe Keller, places its two-person cast in a remote cabin in Alaska in an unusual boy-meets-girl scenario that capped the afternoon session with a cheer-inducing ending.

The other local regional was hosted by Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport and wrapped up shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday. Winners were Waterville High School in Class A and Lincoln Academy in Class B. Camden Hills was named runner-up/alternate in Class A and Winslow High School is runner-up/alternate in Class B. Camden Hills' “Hush Little Celia, Don’t Say a Word” was a cutting of a 60-minute play by Joseph Wallace; Erskine Academy did its own cutting of the same play at Oceanside.

Midcoast students named to the All Festival Cast for the regional at Oceanside High School were Oceanside’s Reagan Billingsley, Sadie Thompson, Mitchell DelFrate and Elliot Spear; Searsport’s Paige Ireland, Cole Dubois and Colby Johnson; and Vinalhaven’s Molly Jo Wentworth and Jackson Day. Midcoast students named to the All Festival Cast for the regional at Camden Hills Regional High School were Camden Hills' Anna Christie and Robert Carroll; Medomak Valley High School’s Amber Hagin, Cameron Leach, Eileen Monroy, Hailie Brown, Lydia Simmons, Noah Dean, Rose Hickey, Ryan Andrick, Sarah Harvey, Wyatt Sykes and Zac Cushman; and Mount View High School’s Myah Hatfield and Jakob Sutton. Belfast Area High School traveled to the MDI regional, where Eilha Silveira-Charbonnier and Maximillian Howard were named to the All Festival Cast.

Most of the participating Midcoast schools also came home with various Judges Commendations. Belfast, which ranked third in Class A at MDI, was honored for Excellence in Stage Crew: Jordyn Brewer, Skye Fountaine, Emily Harriman, Shera Hilt, Kiara Lantigua, Tara O’Donovan, Sophie Richdale, Genevieve Schort and Rowan Walsh.

Medomak Valley, also ranking third in Class A, racked up technical awards for Makeup, Danica Juntura, Eileen Monroy and Hailie Brown; and Raven Costume Construction, Elizabeth Prescott. Also at Camden Hills -- whose regional was judged by Megan Cross, Rockland’s Kim H. Fletcher and Philip Hackett -- Mount View was lauded for Light Crew, Ben Troutman; and Lighting, Tobin Pontillo.

At Oceanside, the host school received Judges Commendations for Ensemble Acting, Brianna White-Ortiz, Grace O’Malley, Titus Kaewthong and Richard Hook; Original Music, Ella Finger; and Set Design. Searsport was honored for Sound Design.

Full results from all nine regionals are posted on the Maine Drama Festival’s Facebook page. The state finals will be held Friday and Saturday, March 24 and 25, Class A at Falmouth and Class B at Yarmouth.

Oceanside will hold an encore fundraiser Wednesday, March 22, at 7 p.m., followed by a dessert buffet. Tickets will be $8, $5 students, at the door, with all donations “gratefully accepted to help house and feed the 40 students headed to the State Drama Festival in Falmouth,” said director Alison Machaiek. Searsport’s Chris Goosman said her troupe is considering a similar encore.

Oceanside High School will reprise its winning “Nuggets!” as a community fundraiser before taking it to the state finals. (Courtesy of: Michael Maguire)
Vinalhaven’s two-person cast puts together their set Saturday afternoon in Rockland; the island school was named runner-up in Class B. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Camden Hills cast and crew members take a pre-performance stretch the final evening of the regional competition. (Photo by: Marti Stone)
Trees are not growing out of season outside Camden Hills Regional High School; they are on standby for a one-act play set during the Maine Drama Festival regional. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Oceanside’s David Johanson and Alison Machaiek confer in the drama fest café Saturday afternoon; Oceanside Theater competed that night and won first place in Class A. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
The cast and crew (and co-authors) of Oceanside High School's "Nuggets!" celebrate their Maine Drama Festival Regional Class A win. (Courtesy of: David Johanson)
Searsport District High School’s theater team celebrates its Class B win at the Maine Drama Festival’s Midcoast Regional (Courtesy of: Allison Walker)
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Staff Profile

Dagney C. Ernest
A&E editor for Courier Publications, LLC
(207) 594-4401/4407, ext. 115
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Dagney has been providing Courier coverage of the local arts scene since 1985 and has helmed the multi-paper A&E section since it debuted in 2003. She has been a local performing artist, community and professional, for more than 30 years and spent a decade writing, producing and announcing on-air for several Midcoast radio stations. When not in the NewsNest, Dagney likes to be in motion.

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