Drama fest sneak peek(s)

Urban legends, fairytales, farce and Greek gods

By Dagney C. Ernest | Feb 28, 2018
Searsport District High School’s Colby Johnson goes above and beyond as Felix the Valet in the school's Maine Drama Festival one-act entry.

Vacation week is over and the final push is on for the 80 schools participating in this year’s Maine Drama Festival competition. For the first time, all the Midcoast schools are assigned to Midcoast regionals. These will take place Friday and Saturday, March 9 and 10, at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro and Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport.

As has been tradition for a number of years now, the participating Waldo County school troupes are taking their one-act entries on the road, offering their communities a sneak peak and giving the cast and crew experience in moving their shows around, as they will have to do for the festival.

“We always are traveling somewhere, since we don't have a venue big enough at our Waldo schools,” said Searsport District High School’s drama director, Chris Goosman. “The local showcase is good practice — kids don't freak out in a new place because we've already been to two other places!”

The Waldo County tour runs Thursday through Saturday, March 1 through 3, one show each at SDHS, Belfast Area High School and Mount View High School. All shows start at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $5 at the door at Searsport and Mount View; $6, with $1 going to the school food pantry, or $5 plus one nonperishable food donation at BAHS. The schedule, subject to change, is as follows: Thursday, BAHS, 98 Waldo Ave., Belfast; Friday, SDHS, 24 Mortland Road, Searsport; and Saturday in the Clifford Performing Arts Center of Mount View, Route 220, Thorndike.

Searsport won its Class B regional last year with a heartbreaking original drama, written and co-directed by a student who received Judges Commendation at states. This year, the troupe is taking a lighter approach.

“After the last few shows, I thought I'd better promise them no set changes, no costume changes … and after the last one-act, a comedy,” Goosman said.

Searsport’s “A Fish in Her Kettle” by David Pearson is the "Course Acting" spoof of the Georges Feydeau French farce “A Flea in Her Ear.” Like the book, which celebrates what can go wrong with amateur theatricals — and embracing the prone-to-disaster nature of farces — “A Fish in Her Kettle” is filled with things going wrong on stage, and a cast soldiering on, convinced the audience won’t notice.

“I couldn't resist doing it this year with a great group of seniors who have been in our program since they were little tykes,” said Goosman.

Said used-to-be tykes include cast members Emma Spiegel, Madison Anglin, Colby Johnson, Ashley Harriman, Cole Dubois, Holden Clapp, Lauren Burkard, Eran Raines, Diamond Dunfee-Platt, Steven Courtney, Harold Merithew, William Bradley, Malcolm Jones and Daniel McKeon.

Stage managers are Esme Freeman and Hannah Nadeau, with running crew Connor Kneeland, David Estes, Sarah Gent and Madison Young. Steven Courtney did lighting design, with George Dakin operating both light and sound. Steven Courtney, Hunter Blakesley, Toby Kroening and Diamond Dunfee-Platt designed the set. Madison Young is in charge of makeup.

Belfast also is going for literature-goes-loopy this year, presenting Don Zolidis’ “The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon,” in which two narrators attempt to recreate all 209 of the Brothers Grimm fairytales … in the competition-required 40 minutes or less.

Ian Howard, co-directing with Michael Lawson, said they have been lucky to get such a great cast and crew for this production.

“It is a fast-paced spitfire comedy that is a challenge to execute, both in front of and behind the curtain, but the team is really clicking and are mastering the pacing needs wonderfully,” he said.

The cast, representing all four BAHS classes, includes Olivia Andrews, Oceana Pacholski-Proctor, Macartney Wyatt, Sydni Moores, Harrison Merchant, Alyssa Limeburner, Donald Patten, Andy McBride, Charles Lagerbom, Shera Hilt, Jordyn Brewer, Taylor Kinney, Will Bickford, Hannah Marsden, Dylan Mitchell, Audrey Richdale, Mercedes Whitmore, Sophie Noomyenooneam, Bryan Spaulding, Phoebe Norman and Quinnten Silveira Charbonnier.

Amber Callahan is the production’s tech consultant, and many cast members assisted with costuming and set construction.

A number of cast members also serve as technical crew. Ayla Fitzjurls and Bryan Spaulding are stage managing, with Jess Tucker, Madison Burgess and Orion McHenry on lights and Kendra Belden on sound. The makeup crew comprises Alyssa Limeburner, Emily Wakeman, Jordyn Brewer and Olivia Andrews, Ayla Fitzjurls, Bryan Spaulding and Jordyn Brewer are on costumes. The full set construction crew comprises Ayla Fitzjurls, Audrey Richdale, Bryan Spaulding, Emily Wakeman, Madison Burgess, Orion McHenry, Phoebe Norman, Quinnten Silveira Charbonnier and Sophie Richdale.

Mount View is taking the chill-and-thrill approach with “The Con and Other Urban Legends,” creepy stories of American folklore adapted for stage by Bryan Starchman. Director Angela Nason and her troupe are presenting three of the work’s sketches as mini-plays.

“The first one is about a young man, just graduated from high school, who gets hit by a car, which is when we meet him. Prank phone calls are funny and harmless, right? We find out in the second play. In the third play, we learn the one thing that drives all cons: greed,” she said.

Delivering the spooky goods in multiple roles are cast members Jeremiah King, Myah Hatfield, Reilly Sullivan, Isaac Black, Jakob Sutton, Payton Pomeroy, Hannah Clifford, Cassidy Grierson, Tambre Hope, Lindsay Penney, Calla Collins, Ben Troutman, Thurston Illingworth and John Clifford.

Each of the three scenes is student-directed, by Connor Dodge, Francie Davies and Jakob Sutton, respectively. Stage manager is Francie Davies, with lights by Toby Pontillo and Ben Troutman; sound by Sam St. Onge and costumes by Connor Dodge. The props and stage crew members are Morgan Hinckley, Madison Paradis and John Clifford. Adult Jacob Junkins serves as technical adviser.

Camden Hills also has a tradition of public performances prior to the regionals, giving the troupe a chance to perform without the distraction of playing host. This year’s play is Doug Rand’s “The Idiot and The Oddity.” A festival favorite, the sendup of Greek mythology was written by a high schooler who went on to found a play-publishing startup with his brother … and become a senior adviser to President Barack Obama.

Camden Hills’ preview performances are Friday, March 2; and Wednesday, March 7, at 7 p.m. at the school, located off Route 90 in Rockport. Admission will be $5 at the door.

*NOTE: DUE TO IMPENDING STORM, THE MARCH 7 SHOW WILL BE AT 5 PM*

The cast, playing everyone from Aphrodite to Zeus, features Cullan Hamilton, Ivan Gushee, Sol Caponigro, Andy Pitcairn, Bradlee Watts, Sydney Lytton, Jack Nathan, Cyndal Emerson, Cora Maple Lindell, Sophie Ernst, Eric Glaser, Lauryn Keating, Nate Stanley, Shannon Mackridge, Tatum Dowd, Gideon Orestis, Abi Hammond, Galadria Scattoloni, Robyn Walker-Spencer, Lindsey Reilly, Allie Balla, Anna Daggett, Emma Jordan, Philip Lane, Robbie Carroll and Elaine Landry.

Carroll and Landry also are directing the comedy; and Caponigro and Ileana Adams are co-tech directors. Isabelle Olson designed the set; McKenzie Hilt-Brown and Linsey Low did the lighting design. Miranda Marsh designed the makeup and Gabby Englander, the costumes. Student producers are Jasper Berryman-Moore, Chris Shields and Tanner Castellano. The running crew comprises Berryman-Moore, Shields and Mason Bloomquist.

Set construction was a group effort comprising Berryman-Moore, Shields, Bloomquist, Tanner Castellano, Emily Pratt, Sophie Dorsky, Milo Gaudette, Thomas Griebel, Aedan Kehoe, Kate Knauer, Ben Nautel, Matt Nickerson, Will Parks, Zeb Pease, Fiona Smith, Analee Carroll, Jackson Chadwick, Hudson Finn, Ethan Ford, Scott Huber, Jacob Knowlton, Hunter Pease, Alex Pettee and Nicole Taylor.

For schedules of which school is competing when and where, visit the Maine Drama Festival’s Facebook page.

 

Mount View’s Jakob Sutton takes his character’s sad tale straight to the audience in one of three “Urban Legends” sketches. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
It’s a Grimm task, but Belfast Area High School is up to it. From left are Audrey Richdale, Hannah Marsden, Mercedes Whitmore, Phoebe Norman, Taylor Kinney, Sydni Moores and Andy McBride.
It’s just another day in Inebrios in Camden Hills Regional High School’s “The Idiot and the Oddity.”
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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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