One-Act Festival likely last at Bath school theater

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BATH — Morse High School was the first school to host the annual Maine Principals Association One-Act Festival in 1932.

But this weekend’s event will possibly be the final one held at Montgomery Theater because, if eventually approved by voters, a new school could be constructed at Wing Farm Park in 2020.

“This is our swan song,” Kevin O’Leary, an English and drama teacher at Morse with 15 one-act productions to his resume, said in an interview March 2. “It’s a real bittersweet emotional feeling for us all. Of course, we’re excited to host, but it’s the last time that schools come to us.”

The One-Act Festival will be held Friday, March 10, and Saturday, March 11. As it has every few years, Morse will host several other high schools at its 826 High St. theater, including Cheverus, South Portland, Scarborough, Westbrook, Windham, Lisbon, and Waynflete.

Morse once again brings a student-written play to the stage, as it has each year since 2002. This year’s offering, “Red Radio” by junior Sidonia Stanton, is a coming-of-age story about a young teenager named Rey, who has for a few years been estranged from Lydia, a disc jockey in another town.

“The only connection (Rey) has with her is listening to her radio show, on her crank red radio,” O’Leary said. “… She desperately wants to rekindle that relationship, but doesn’t quite know how to do it.”

The 35-minute play, which Morse students will perform at 9 p.m. Friday, follows Rey’s journey as she comes to terms with her feelings, and falls in love with a young woman named Jordan. Helping with that journey are friends and business owners who line a Main Street-like setting that includes a record, plant and coffee shops.

“Most of the action takes place in those three different venues,” O’Leary said.

Rey is played by junior Maggie Chipman, and Jordan by Willow Sylvester. Lydia, portrayed by senior Jada Alley, is heard and shown only in silhouette behind a screen in her broadcasting booth.

One-Act tickets cost $5 for students and $8 for the general public. Morse also performs the show at no charge at about 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 8, during its Fine Arts Night.

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

Morse High School’s offering in this year’s Maine Principals Association’s One-Act Festival, “Red Radio” by junior Sidonia Stanton, stars senior Willow Sylvester, left, and junior Maggie Chipman.

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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.