Bath school's 1-act play spotlights teen angst

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BATH — Morse High School’s entry in this year’s Regional One-Act Play Competition is a window into the trials of adolescence.

The production, “Look Up,” written by senior Morgan Quigg, follows the story of Avyn, played by Cassie Lambert, and her next-door neighbor Christian, played by fellow senior Paden Stanton.

“They have been best friends their whole life; they’re trying to figure out if they want to move beyond that,” said Kevin O’Leary, an English and drama teacher at Morse with 13 one-act productions under his belt.

If that’s not complicated enough, as the teens are concluding their junior year, Avyn’s parents are killed in a car crash, two hours after she had a major fight with her mother.

“So now she’s juggling the loss of her parents, the guilt over her anger, the ambiguity she feels toward her best friend in the world, and just trying to be a teenager,” O’Leary said. “One of the most honest lines in the play is said by Avyn; she says, ‘teenagers mess up everything.'”

“Look Up” has a cast of 35, along with 25 students working backstage, and features the work of O’Leary’s 15th student playwright.

Quigg “has been unbelievably professional; she has been unbelievably accommodating,” O’Leary said. “And she’s really being incredibly brave. There’s some heavy-duty stuff being negotiated in the 40 minutes of this play.”

Quigg said themes in the play, like growing up and trying to find a place in the world, are things she and her friends are struggling with as they prepare to graduate.

“But it’s exciting, and that’s … part of the purpose of the play,” she said Monday, “as well as trying to understand how strong our friendships are, if they’re going to last.”

The play will premiere at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, during Morse’s fine arts night. That free show will be followed two days later at 8 p.m. with the play’s bow at the Regional One-Act Play Competition, at Lawrence High School in Fairfield.

If Morse wins the regional, it would advance to the state level two weeks later. The state winner competes at the New England competition in April, O’Leary said.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.