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Yarmouth, Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough in drama festival finals

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Yarmouth, Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough in drama festival finals

YARMOUTH — The Yarmouth Playmakers took first place in the Class B regional competition of the Maine Drama Festival and will compete in the state finals this weekend.

Winners from the Class A regional division include Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth. They will compete at Camden Hills Regional High School.

Eighteen high schools and more than 500 students will participate in the state finals Friday and Saturday, March 19 and 20. The annual collection of one-act plays is sponsored by the Maine Principals' Association and the Maine Drama Council.

The nine schools in both classes are competing to represent Maine in the New England Drama Festival, to be held April 15-17 at Falmouth High School.

Students have 35 minutes to perform each play. In addition, each school is given five minutes to set up and five minutes to break down.

Besides Yarmouth, the Class B state finalists include Caribou, Hermon, Rockland, Fort Kent, R.W. Traip Academy, Oak Hill, Maine Central Institute and Winthrop. Freeport High School took second place in the regionals with "Red List," a play written by play senior Laura Tims and junior Phil Rogers.

Yarmouth Theater Director Betsy Puelle said there are 40 students involved in the production of "The Red Herring" by Michael Hollinger. This will be Puelle's 11th One-Act Festival, and she said it is a wonderful learning experience for the students. She said they were drawn to a comedy this year, and Hollinger's fast-paced, murder mystery, film noir style appealed to them.

"These students learn from other students, other performances and the entire festival experience," she said.

Tickets for the Yarmouth High School performances are $4 for students and $7 for adults, with proceeds going to the MPA.

In the Class A competition, the Falmouth team took first place against Gorham, Morse and Windham high schools.  

They will compete with the other nine schools in the Class A division, including Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, Mount Desert, Lincoln Academy, Fryeberg, Ellsworth, Skowhegan and Thornton Academy.

In Falmouth, Theater Director Dede Waite said the actors will perform "The Thirteen Clocks" by James Thurber. There are 17 cast members, she said, but the entire crew includes about 43 students.

There is a running crew to move the set throughout the play, the set was designed by two seniors who are engineering students, and the art work was created by two students, Waite said.

"We have adults helping in the background, but the students run the show," she said. "It is incredible to see their work, and to watch them problem solve throughout the process."

Scarborough students will perform "The Dancers" by Horton Foote, a story about teenage insecurity, popularity and a dance in a small Texas town in the 1950s.

Cathy Jordan, Scarborough's staff adviser, said the 20 students involved in the play are a closely knit group who love to perform. The students are actors, set designers and prop makers. Jordan said Scarborough has participated in the competition for at least five years.

"They did an incredible job at the regionals," she said.

In Cape Elizabeth, Theater Director Dick Mullen said the students performed "The Birds" by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes and bested eight other high schools in their region to compete in the state finals. The play addresses the flaws of mankind and was written by the granddaddy of comedians, Mullen said.

"The 40 students involved in this play worked extremely hard," he said. "This play is a farce, it is a satire, it is hilarious."

Mullen said Cape students have participated in the competition before and, like Yarmouth and Falmouth, have won the state competition.

"This play is a satire of human foibles, and is great fun with elegant staging," he said. "It is a romp, and the students have a good time."

Performances in Yarmouth and Camden are Friday and Saturday nights at 6 p.m. and Saturday at noon. Tickets will be sold at both venues.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net