A day of drama - LHS presents the New Hampshire Education Theatre Guild's Regional Drama Festival


LACONIA — When was the last time you went to a play? If you can't remember, or if the answer is so long ago that you'd rather not say, then you've got the perfect chance to remedy that problem by attending the New Hampshire Educational Theatre Guild's Regional Drama Festival being held all day Saturday at Laconia High School.

Amy Babcock, who recently assumed the role of theater director for LHS, said she hopes that by hosting the festival, Laconia will usher in a renewed interest in the performing arts, especially when the performers are young city residents.

"I hope this is the start of really big things for the theater program," said Babcock.

Eight New Hampshire high schools are scheduled to perform short plays, grouped into morning, afternoon and evening blocks. Members of the public can buy tickets to just one of the blocks, or can buy a pass for a full day of drama.

Judges will critique each performance, with the most cohesive, best acted and most technically proficient plays selected to advance to the state drama festival.

Laconia's entry will be two short plays selected out of the David Ives collection titled "Mere Mortals." Laconia students performed most of the plays in the collection earlier this school year. The first of the two they will perform at the festival is Dr. Fritz, which Babcock said is an abstract, Vaudeville-style play highlighting two talented actors.

"It's very funny, a very entertaining show," said Babcock.

The other Laconia entry is "Degas C'est Moi," which follows the story of a man who wakes up one day and decides to spend the rest of the day as 19th century artist Edgar Degas. Each of the two plays probes the question of whether one has control over his or her own life, or if one's fate is predestined. About 15 LHS students are involved in the production of the two short plays.

For his first drama festival, Plymouth Regional High School's new Theater Director Frank Stetson wanted to pick something his students would relate to, so he picked Ian McWethy's play, "The Internet is Distract –– OH LOOK A KITTEN!" The show dramatizes a student's last-minute quest to check a few facts for a report, only to have her research sidetracked by the attention-stealers of the online world.

"It is a one-act comedy about the pitfalls of modern-day Internet and how it affects our everyday life," said Stetson, who also works as the school's information technology director. His students don't know a life before the Internet, and some of them are only truly disconnected from the online world when their phone battery dies.

"I felt the kids would be able to relate to it," Stetson said. He has a cast of nine students, and for some of them, acting in a comedy offered a new challenge. They learned how to time their laugh lines, and how to play off the performances of the other actors on stage.

The students from Kingswood Regional High School will find themselves performing with actors both onstage and off, as their production, "Midsummer Night's Dream: The Movie" incorporates multimedia elements along with live actors.

Scott Giessler, Kingswood theater director, said the script is a 35-minute adaptation of the Shakespearean play. The language remains unchanged, but the setting is in Hollywood, and the characters are modern-day "starlets."

"Speaking as an educator, it's a fantastic tool. You're giving them the original Shakespeare, but you're giving them something to grasp on to," said Giessler. His cast includes 25 students, including Kyleigh Moore, who is serving as technical director, an especially daunting role for this production. Moore is in charge of lighting, sound and training the crew, and she's also overseeing the shooting and projecting of video footage, which will be part of the live performance. Some of the video footage is pre-recorded, but some will be shot live during the play and projected onto the stage.

"She's done a terrific job with it," Giessler said of Moore. "There's a lot of moving parts."

Tickets for the drama festival can be purchased at the door for $15 for the full day, or $7 for a single block. The first block begins at 9:15 a.m. and includes Gilford, Plymouth and Moultonborough Academy. Block II features Stevens High School, Newport Middle & High School and Laconia, and begins at 2:20 p.m. Block III begins at 7:30 p.m. and includes Profile School and Kingswood.

Babcock would like to see the auditorium filled with local residents, who come out to encourage and celebrate their young and talented neighbors.

"It's something that I would love to see improved in Laconia – more interest, more support in general for the arts. I would love to see more people choose to come out and see theatrical productions," said Babcock.


9:15 a.m. Introductions Block I
9:20 a.m. Epic Proportions- Gilford High School
10:15 a.m. The Internet is Distract- Oh Look A Kitten!- Plymouth Regional High School
11:10 a.m. Law and Order: Fairy Tale Unit- Moultonborough Academy
2:20 p.m. Introductions Block II
2:25 p.m. Hamlet II (Better Than The Original) - Stevens High School
3:20 p.m. The Door- Newport Middle-High School
4:15 p.m. Mere Mortals - Laconia High School
7:30 p.m. Introductions Block III
7:35 p.m. Almost Hamlet - Profile School
8:30 p.m. Midsummer Night's Dream: The Movie - Kingswood Regional High School

Tickets can be purchased at the door. Cost: $7/block $15/full day
Be sure to arrive 15 minutes before each block is scheduled to begin.

Vandals hit Airport Plaza, police seek help

GILFORD — Police are investigating several acts of vandalism at the Airport Plaza that occurred between 3:14 a.m. on Friday, March 5, and 1:42 a.m. on Saturday, March 6.

Lt. Kristian Kelley of the Gilford Police said that a number of windows were broken at both the Gilford Cinema 8 and the Gilford House of Pizza as well as at a vacant unit of the shopping plaza. Kelley said that the multiple offenses of criminal mischief represent a felony-level offense.

Kelley said that police have identified a likely suspect, but are continuing their investigation.

Gilford Cinema 8 has offered two year-long free passes for anyone whose information leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the damage. Anyone with information should contact Officer Alyssa Raxter at the Gilford Police Department, 527-4737.

– Michael Kitch

03-11 vandalism at Gilford cinema

The Gilford Cinema was victim to vandals last weekend. (Courtesy Photo)


Ayotte praises Riverbank House addiction recovery programs

03-11 riverbank

Sen. Kelly Ayotte toured the Riverbank House residential community Friday and praised the addiction recovery programs which have been launched by its owner, Randy Bartlett. (Roger Amsden photo/for the Laconia Daily Sun)





LACONIA — U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) toured the Riverbank House residential community Friday afternoon and praised the addiction recovery programs being offered there.
"It's incredible what they're doing here. It was a learning experience for me. I'm very impressed with the long-term treatment and recovery programs they provide and the range of activities from yoga to paddle boards and kayaking which will be available," said Ayotte.
Riverbank House was founded by Randy Bartlett in 2012 and is in the midst of an expansion that will create a campus along both banks of the Winnipesaukee River just north of the Church Street Bridge. In the last several years, Bartlett has purchased a half dozen properties along the river, including a commercial property, and will ultimately expand the capacity of the facility from the 16 beds it began with and the 36 beds it offers today to 65 beds.
It is headquartered at 96 Church St., an impressive three-story mansion of 5,446 square feet topped with a widow's walk, where in 2014 Bartlett built a tree house, overlooking the river and linked to the building by hanging walkways, as an office and retreat.
While most of the property will provide housing, the commercial building will be renovated and converted to house a yoga studio, which will be open to the public, a gymnasium, cafe and meeting room. Bartlett has said that he also plans to add a licensed psychiatrist qualified to treat drug and alcohol addiction, who would work in the building.
"We're trying to develop a full spectrum of care for recovering addicts," Bartlett said. He stressed that the "length of stay is the single greatest predictor of success in overcoming addiction to drugs and alcohol." Riverbank House offers a five-month program, grounded in the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Principles of Buddhism followed by up to 18 months of transitional living. The program, he described as a "structured regimen in lifestyle and recovery with a spiritual component," emphasizing that there are many roads to recovery, each suited to different individuals.
Ayotte discussed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, the bipartisan legislation intended to help combat the heroin epidemic that she has been working for nearly two years to pass and was approved 94-1 in the U.S. Senate this week.
The measure authorizes money for various treatment and prevention programs for a broad spectrum of addicts, including those in jail. It also strengthens prescription drug monitoring programs to help states and expands the availability of the drug naloxone, which helps reverse overdoses, to law enforcement agencies.