Awards, commendations for all

Oceanside wins Maine Drama Festival regional

By Dagney C. Ernest | Mar 09, 2019
The cast and crew of Oceanside High School pose with their Maine Drama Festival regional Class B trophy March 9 at Medomak Valley High School.

Waldoboro — The Midcoast Regional, one of nine regional competition sites of the annual Maine Drama Festival, took place Friday and Saturday, March 8 and 9, at Medomak Valley High School. Three of the local high schools — MVHS, Oceanside and Vinalhaven — competed. Oceanside High School emerged the winner in Class B and Lincoln Academy in Class A, with Freeport and Gray-New Gloucester high schools the runners-up.

Each of the three sessions of plays was close to, even just at, the capacity of the Ronald Dolloff Auditorium. At the Saturday night session, which featured performances by the Medomak Valley Players and Oceanside, supporters of each school volunteered their seats to the others so all could see their own schools compete. For the final show, Oceanside’s, the Medomak Valley students stood in the back.

The Midcoast Regional was hosted by Jessica Nelson. Waterville Senior High School’s Brian Laramee, serving as MPA Drama Committee rep, introduced each play. Judges were Dana Wieluns Legwiec, who has been part of the most recent incarnation of the Camden Shakespeare Festival; Tracy Ann Lord, a founding member of the Belfast Maskers; and singer/songwriter Martin Swinger, originator of  the Theatrical Outfit troupe. Critiques were held in the school’s library, and meals and snacks were sold in the cafeteria.

The Midcoast regional mixed Class A (500 or more students) and the smaller Class B schools. Friday’s session opened with Wiscasset High School (B), whose “Murder Box” mixed laughs and chilling thrills with backstage in-jokes. Vinalhaven’s (B) “Untimely Ripped” managed to condense Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” to 40 minutes (just barely), and put it in a contemporary high school setting. The show’s tech challenges included projections and multiple sound cues; Banquo’s ghost, for example, appeared on a tablet on a lunch table. Gray-New Gloucester’s (A) “Once Upon a Grapevine” was fast and funny, a large cast with strong performances all-around, including musicians, that earned a standing ovation.

The Saturday daytime session opened with Cape Elizabeth’s (A) production of a festival favorite, “The Actor’s Nightmare.” The troupe had a bit of a technical nightmare at setup, as the side of one of the rolling box flats kept flapping loose. Freeport High School’s (B) “The Fourteen Known Offspring of Donor HH-247,” written and directed by student Rhea Fitzpatrick, proved to be a impressive entry, drawing a standing ovation for both its clever script and strong performances. Lincoln Academy (A), presenting an original adaptation of “The Snow Maiden,” kicked things up a number of notches as usual, incorporating balletic dance, puppetry and guzheng, and flute accompaniment.

The final session opened with the Medomak Valley Players (A), whose entry had a fun wrestling sequence but a home field advantage that fell through; its comedy, “How to Roommate,” had a centerstage set piece that failed to illuminate. Oceanside (B) capped the fest with “A Play with Words,” concluding with a courtroom scene that got lots of laughs.

Meanwhile, Camden Hills Regional High School (A) was competing in Caribou with its student-written and -directed “You & Mia.” The play, set in a contemporary high school and centered around students finding their hearts’ desires, ran 15 seconds too long and so was disqualified, but faculty director Tom Heath said it was the best performance yet of Tatum Dowd’s original work. The Waldo County high schools also traveled out of the Midcoast to compete, Belfast to MDI; and Mount View and Searsport to Lawrence.

Full results are posted on the Maine Drama Festival’s Facebook page. Oceanside will present an encore performance Wednesday, March 20, at 7 p.m. at the Rockland high school, to prep for its Class B State Final March 22 and 23 in Ellsworth. Camden Hills will host the Class A finals.  Following are awards and commendations for the Midcoast schools.

Oceanside High School: Nathan Phaenephom, Aidan Andrews, Uriah Thongsophaphone, Ruby Jovin, Ella Finger, Lydia Laslavic and Anthony Radzimirski were named to the All Festival Cast. Judges’ Commendations were awarded for Lighting to Kalli Grover and Sara Dorr; Set Construction to Gavin Tower, Sebastian Sanfilippo and Zach Cody; Set Design to Kalli Grover, Sara Dorr and Zach Cody; Set/Strike to the running crew.

Medomak Valley High School: Claire Bouret, Elias Miller, Wyatt Sykes, Zachary Cushman, Eileen Monroy and Owen Weber were named to the All Festival Cast. Judges’ Commendations were awarded for Tech Ensemble to Aubrey Schaeffer, Brooke Johnson, Dominique LaFlamme, Emma Kunesh, Ian Doughty, Jason Holbrook, Jayla Robinson, Nolan Grubb, Rachel Gross and Sophie Brooks.

Vinalhaven High School: Ben Burgess, Keaton Lear, Caleb Turner and Max VanDyne were named to the All Festival Cast. Judges’ Commendations were awarded for the Bleeding Couch (a special effect that made the audience gasp) to the construction crew; and for Ensemble Movement to the ensemble.

Camden Hills Regional High School: Bradlee Watts, Caleb Edwards, Robyn Walker-Spencer and Katie Southworth were named to the All Festival Cast. Judges’ Commendations were awarded for Excellence in Playwriting for “You & Mia” to senior Tatum Dowd; and Musical Arrangement with Opening Song in “You & Mia” to Myles Kelley.

The State Finals will be held March 22 and 23, Class A at Camden Hills Regional High School and Class B at Ellsworth High School.

Observing the Gray-New Gloucester High School set-up March 8 are, from left, Colin Sutch, fest tech director Matthew Kopishke and Fred Merrifield. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
The Ronald Dolloff Auditorium of Medomak Valley High School is chock full as Cape Elizabeth puts together its set March 9 in Waldoboro. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
Comments (2)
Posted by: Peter Root | Mar 11, 2019 10:25

Way to go Oceanside!!!!



Posted by: Peter Henderson | Mar 10, 2019 12:10

I was in the audience for both of the March 9 (Saturday) sessions. I love the energy, enthusiasm and emotions of Festival. And who wouldn't be thrilled to perform in front of standing room only crowds for each performance! Thank you to all the students and adults who come together each year to share such joy. And thank you to Dagney Ernest for sharing some of what's going behind the scenes!



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