Friday, March 8, 2013

A One-Class Act by Michelle Libby

There’s a problem with the cooler. It doesn’t represent the time period, one judge commented. “Nice aging,” another said. A bell ringing was missing when someone went out the imaginary door, another audience member commented.

The critics were nit-picky at this performance, but that was exactly what director Matthew Ryder and his cast wanted on night number two of three preview shows at Windham Performing Arts Center this past weekend.

The 28 students involved in the one act competition performed Shirley Jackson’s The Summer People, a story about a couple from away, who decide to stay on at the lake beyond Labor Day.

The couple, played by Brad Meader and Maria Sepulveda, realize that something’s a little different about the town after the traditional last day of summer.

The audience gets sucked into the Maine community and the unique characters played by Matthew Scala, Whitney Bolduc, Kiara Tringali, Avery Topel and Jameson McBride.

The one act competition is strict. Schools are allowed five minutes to set up, 35 minutes to perform with a five minute grace period and five minutes to “strike the set”, which means to make sure that nothing is left on the stage. If the cast goes over the limit or leaves something on the stage, they are disqualified. Points can be taken off for inaccurate costuming, lack of projection or if the sounds don’t match the action happening on stage.

Windham is unique because for the past few years the pit band, this year made up of Nicolas Gleason-Boure, Adam Poitras and Kris Dow, are performing an original work by Gleason-Boure that captures the tension of the play.  At the beginning of the performance, Johanna Stanley and Kyah Morrissette creatively act out a scene naming all of the sponsors, garnering chuckles from the audience.

The talent on the stage ranged from the actors and crew to the producer, music director and sound designer Brenna Ryder and stage and set manager, Michelle Begley.

The assistant director was not in attendance on Saturday because she was auditioning at a college that day

The cast, which began rehearsing after Christmas break, will perform in the regional competition at Morse High School in Bath on Saturday, March 9 at 4 p.m. 

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