Theatre fans packed Carlyle Memorial Hall on Tuesday, April 12 as the Gordon F. Kells High School Drama Club previewed their festival performances before taking them on the road to Redvers to the Region One Drama Festival. In Redvers, the senior cast and crew earned Best Overall Production runner up for “Avoiding the Pitfalls of High School Dating” as well as Best Visual Production Runner Up and Best Technical Crew, while the junior group captured an Award of Merit for Best Set Decorations for their production, “Epic Adventures in a Rinky Dink Art Museum.”
Individual awards were as follows: Technical Award of Merit: Kelly Hume, Best Actor Runner Up: Jillian Heitenan, Acting Award of Excellence: Madison Hourd and Acting Awards of Merit: Joash Rushton, Judah Wardrope, Morgan Robertson and Matthew Forcier.
Teacher and director Darcy Howe says: “We entertained. Our goal was to entertain and we did that. I'm very proud of the kids-both the senior and the junior groups-and their performances.”
Both the junior and senior casts and crews demonstrated talent, professionalism and a flair for comedy during their preview performances in Carlyle.
“Epic Adventures in a Rinky-Dinky Art Museum” by Ken Preuss showcased the junior cast and crew's comedic timing and talent as they told the story of a class of reluctant high-school field-trippers on a visit to the local museum, run by the mysterious Mr. Briggs (Brayden Hill). Pop-culture referencing teacher, Ms. Bell (Brooke Smith) and her students Abby (Morgan Robertson), Kaitlin (Sydney Flynn), Caleb (Colby Cyr), Monique (Kyra Cochrane), Irene (Emily Bouchard), Jenna (Madison Paulo), Seth (Judah Wardrope) and Duncan (Kyle Bye) shine in this character-driven comedy that features mystery and romance involving faithful security guard Higgins (Kaysha Turner) and the mysterious Lady (Anna Doty).
The production proceeded flawlessly, thanks to the efforts of stage managers and prompters Brittany Rowe and Kelly Hume, who oversaw lights and sound. And the different “rooms” of the museum were created by the imaginative use of artwork created by Carlyle students.
Directors-and teachers- Thomas Broccolo and Justine Kyle praised the troup's work ethic and enthusiasm.
“We're so excited for all of you to be here with us tonight,” said Broccolo. “It's a comedy for all ages and the kids are really fired up.”
The senior drama group continued the evening's comedic theme as they presented Bobby Keniston's “Avoiding the Pitfalls of High School Dating.”
The play is the story of bickering-and slightly smarmy-dating coaches Lucky Day (Joash Rushton) and Starry Night (Jillian Hietanen) who are pitching a program that will transform the romantic lives of teenage wallflowers -and rescue the dating coaches financially.
With a pitch like: “Dating isn't easy-and neither is high school-so imagine combining the two,” the pair set up the hapless Lenny (Matthew Forcier) and death-obsessed Matilda (Madison Hourd) on blind dates with the unsuspecting Katie (Bryanne Forcier), Kaylynn (Payton Humphries) and Dan and Buddy (both played by Marissa Owens).
The dates reach the height of hilarity when Matilda invites her parents-played by Kaelie Bouchard as her fussy mother and Lee-Amber Laderoute as her boorish dad.
The stage set-up for this play was another challenge for the seniors at the competition level. Stage managers Shelbey McNair and Brittany Rowe, lights and sound managers Logan Lemieux and Hailey Hoffman, prompter Mackenzie Valentine and crew members Jordan Patriquin, Jeanette Opena, Halle Doty and Julyco Opena were required to assemble the complex set -which features a large neon heart-in 10 minutes and take it down in five minutes.
“It's all part of the festival,” says teacher Darcy Howe, who along with fellow GFK teacher, Kevin Dyck, directed “Avoiding the Pitfalls of High School Dating.”
“It's always really exciting,” adds co-director Dyck. “The kids are always so energetic and that energy kind of feeds off each other.”