Yarmouth, Falmouth students advance to regional drama fest

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YARMOUTH — Yarmouth High School took first place for the second consecutive year at the Maine Drama Festival’s Class B state finals last weekend.

The students performed “Josephine’s Stories,” an original adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s 1902 collection “Just So Stories.”

The festival, held annually by the Maine Principals Association and the Maine Drama Council, challenges schools across the state to stage one-act plays. The Class B finals were held March 21 and 22 at Yarmouth High School.

Eighty schools competed in the festival’s regional round, held on March 7 and 8, and 17 schools took part in the finals. Over 3,000 students participated.

As Class B state champion, Yarmouth will represent Maine at the New England Drama Festival, April 15-17 at St. Johnsbury Academy in St. Johnsbury, Vt.

“Josephine’s Stories,” directed by Betsy Puelle and scripted by senior Amelia French, features four of Kipling’s classic animal origin stories: “The Crab That Played with the Sea,” “The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo,” “How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin” and “How the Whale Got His Throat.”

“The key to our success was that it was so ensemble oriented,” French said. “It was about us relying on each other, and when we focus and work together, that’s when we shine. The show itself was something we all cared about, we were all passionate about, which is important when you’re performing.”

Sophomore Karl Munroe composed the play’s original music. French said hearing his score over the script she spent months tweaking was an emotional experience.

“His music added that last finishing touch the show really needed,” she said.

In addition to the top Class B prize, “Josephine’s Stories” received judges’ commendations for Outstanding Chorus to Samantha Mangino, Katie Champlin, Kayla Barton, Meredith Coolidge and Maddy Whittemore; Outstanding Adaptation, Amelia French; Outstanding Unity of Design and Performance, cast and crew; Outstanding Ensemble Work, Matthew Truesdale, Sam Steinbock, Chandler Smith and Eli Puelle, and Outstanding Creative Props, Ella Werner, Mikayla Clifford and Grace Gabrielson.

Students from the show named to the All-Festival Cast were James Erwin, as Kipling; Meredith Coolidge, as Crab; Chandler Smith, as Kangaroo; Karl Munroe, as Dingo, and Matt LaMourie, in multiple roles.

Freeport High School finished fourth in Class B with its production of “Unhappily Ever After,” an original show written and directed by students Kelsey Grant and Molly Brown.

“Unhappily Ever After,” a sequel to “Snow White,” placed first during the regional round. At the state finals, it received five judges’ commendations, tied with Yarmouth for most in the festival, for Outstanding Creative Collaboration, Kelsey Grant and Molly Brown; Outstanding Sound Design, Daniel Sinclair; Outstanding Special Effects, Sommer Cassidy; Outstanding Use of Space, cast; and Outstanding Transitions: Audio, Music and Scenery, stage crew.

Daniel Sinclair, as the Mirror, and Dalton Champan, as the Grumpy Miner, were named to the All-Festival Cast.

Falmouth is Class A runner-up

Gorham High School won the Class A state championship last weekend at Camden Hills Regional High School with scenes from “Mother Hicks.”

Gorham is unable to participate in the New England Drama Festival, according to Gerry Durgin, assistant executive director of the Maine Principals Association, so Falmouth High School, which placed second, will perform instead.

Falmouth produced “Charm,” a 2010 play by Kathleen Cahill that explores the relationships between the 19th century writers and transcendentalists Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

“Charm” earned commendations for Outstanding Ensemble Acting, cast; Oustanding Vocal Music, Brooke Bazarian, Izzy Goldberg, Julie Guerra, Izzy Simbari and Emmy Wrobleski, and Outstanding Dramaturgy, Isabel Friedman.

Three students from the show were named to the All-Festival Cast: Michela Micalizio as Fuller, Andrew Ostrow as Hawthorne, and Cole Walsh as Thoreau.

Scarborough High School placed seventh in the Class A finals with a production of “Jack and the Ruffians,” a comic retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk by Laura Joye.

Laura Axelrod, as the Storyteller, and Lucy Braeuer, as the Baby Giant, were named to the All-Festival Cast.

Brendan Twist can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or btwist@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @brendantwist.