LACONIA — The Laconia High School and Gilford High School theater departments will be traveling to Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston on Friday and Saturday to take part in the annual N.H. Education Theatre Guild One Act Festival. Twelve schools will be competing and two will be selected to advance to a New England-wide festival.
Gilford and Laconia took the stage for the regional level of the One Act Festival on March 14, in Gilford, where they presented their shows alongside five other schools from around the state. Each show was viewed by two professional adjudicators who gave constructive feedback to the cast directly following each show, and after deliberation four of the seven schools were selected to move on to perform at the state-level competition.
Laconia students were eager to attend the regional One Act Festival this year after a two year hiatus. Under the new theater director, Amanda Babcock, LHS presented the southern comedy "Dearly Departed". Originally written at full length by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones, the script was adapted by Babcock to fit a 40-minute time constraint.
"I had been wanting to do this show for a long time and finally this year I got the opportunity to," said Babcock. "They have taken a fantastic script and made it their own. I am very proud of every person in the cast."
The show follows a cast of colorful characters in a dysfunctional family as they come together to bury their patriarch, who had passed away due to a stroke. The show was recognized at the regional level by the adjudicators, with male actor Taylor Gagney, a junior, winning an Excellence in Acting award for his portrayal of the female character.
Gilford High School chose to perform the contemporary drama "Eurydice" by Sarah Ruhl. The director of the cast is Heather Hunt, a senior at GHS who is planning on attending college to study theater and the arts.
When asked why she picked the show, Hunt replied, "Because I wanted a challenge, and something that would startle people a little. There are a lot of traditional shows at this sort of theater festival, so I thought it would be an interesting change to have something sort of modern and original."
The show "Eurydice" follows the tragic love story of Eurydice and Orpheus as they face the challenges of untimely death while trying to preserve their love. The small and diverse cast of characters was recognized by the judges as well with three awards being presented at the end of the regional festival. Excellence in Acting awards went to Ryan Hall, who played Eurydice's father, and to Tom Pouliot playing the "Nasty Interesting Man/Child". Hunt won the award for Excellence in Directing.
This is the first time that Laconia High School has been chosen to move on to a state festival since the performance of "Night Mother" in 2009. Gilford is performing at the state level for the fourth consecutive year, following up last years achievement of making it New England theater festival with the performance of "Almost Maine" under the direction of Sarah Cook.
Upon being asked how Gilford felt about moving on to states with their neighboring town for the first time in years, Hunt said, "It's exciting to be going to states with Laconia, our neighbor city, for the first time in years. One of the great things about festival is how it builds connections in the student theater community."