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One Acts 2016

The clock ticks furiously in everyone’s ears. Palms are sweaty and feet are restless. The audience holds their breath as their competitors race to set up their set in just five minutes. There is nothing like the thrill of performing in front of an audience, so what happens when you’re performing not only in front of an audience but that performance has been scored?


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During the first weekend of March, Thornton held the annual Southern Maine Class A One-Act Festival. The One Act festival is a competition held every year for high school drama clubs. The Maine Drama Festival is organized by the Maine Drama Council and the Maine Principals association. Rules are very specific. The goal is to spread and create opportunities for students in the theater arts. Maine has the most active Drama Program in New England. There is also a New England Drama Council. New England festival happens in one of the six New England states every year. This year is Connecticut’s turn…New England festival will be in Old Saybrook at Old Saybrook High School. Thornton Academy has been participating in this competition since 1985. This competition has been held throughout New England since 1929.

In this previous festival, Thornton performed Ghost Boy, a play written by alum Aaron Lockeman.

“It’s a great show. The judges wouldn’t know it. It’s special to the cast members here this year. I felt it was a winning play,” said theater director David Hanright.

Ghost Boy is a humorous play about the relationship between a mother and her daughter Amelia. Amelia grows up listening to the story of the Ghost Boy, her mother heard it from the neighbor and told it to Amelia…it became Amelia’s favorite.

“Amelia’s street in the play is based on the street I grew up on in Kennebunk, and for the longest time I had this image in my head of a silvery white, glowing ghost walking down the stretch of dirt road in front of our house while singing,” said Aaron Lockeman.

In middle school mom finds out that Amelia still believes in the ghost boy and promptly assumes she’s crazy. The seek the advice of a psychologist who suggests mom should “indulge” her daughter and go out to see the ghost.

“The idea of something so remarkable happening so regularly was intriguing to me. Like, there’s a tendency in stories for the remarkable thing to vanish when you try to show it to somebody else – like in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when Lucy tries to show her siblings the entrance to Narnia for the first time and it randomly doesn’t appear. But what happens when the remarkable thing doesn’t conveniently disappear? What happens when the rest of the world finds out about it? That question helped me initially to map out The Ghost Boy – the themes about childhood and storytelling all sort of evolved later,” said Lockeman

As it turns out the ghost is real and mom decides to call on the help of a ghost hunter TV show celebrity. He turns out to be abusive, rude and ultimately, a disbeliever. A video is leaked to social media and the ghost becomes a worldwide happening, with secret service, scientists, cult religions and wacky tourists. Eventually, the world grows tired of the ghost and grown up Amelia returns home and resumes her life with the ghost boy.

“It’s weird – that night was the largest audience that had ever seen something I’d written, and I wasn’t even there.”

For many people, the One Act Festival and drama club are a home for self-expression and friendship. Throughout the whole festival students from different schools intermingle and create the most fondest of friendships. It is so easy to be able to meet and interact with such an amiable environment.

“The most inspiring thing about the one-act festival is the friendship. Everyone is friends there. You can just walk into a room and it’s like you’ve known everyone in there for a year, even if you’ve never met them,” said senior Jake Buttarazi. He performed as Ishmael’s father in Ghost Boy.

I asked many students from all different schools what their favorite moments were about One Acts this year, here are their responses:

“The hours that are put on these performances and the overall attitude of the entire group. The one-act festival is consisted of late nights with people who have spent their whole week rehearsing lines instead of sleeping. And somehow, those same people manage to smile and laugh and crack jokes and play games with new theater people like they’re with long time friends, and that’s why I had such an incredible time at the festival this year,” said Thornton’s sophomore Lauren Mesley.

“My favorite memory from One Acts would have to be after we performed our show on Friday night. Before we went to critique with the judges, we went back to our classroom where all of our stuff was set up. We decided to just blast music as loud as it could go over the speakers. We were so happy with our performance. It was the best show that we had ever done before and we got a standing ovation. With all the music playing, people from other school heard what was going on and came into our room. We danced and sung at the top of our lungs for at least 45 minutes straight. 80’s classics were the prime set of our music. I also started the Macarena when one of the older songs was on. Everyone couldn’t stop laughing and smiling and I wish I could live in that moment forever,” said Thornton’s sophomore Tori Williams.

“My favorite part was meeting new people. It’s fun to perform but the people you meet, outside their characters, are amazing human beings,” said Scarborough’s Molly Lecomte.

“I think my favorite memory was right after we had performed. We had worked insanely hard on our show Much Ado About Nothing for the past 6 months. We were worried about going over time. We all rushed off stage when we had finished, eager to hear what time we clocked in at. When we heard we made it two minutes under the time limit, we were all so relieved and proud of the show we had accomplished. Our entire cast was a mass of hugs and tears and laughter backstage, and the feeling of complete unity really made that moment stand out for me the most,” said Portland’s Kyle Warnock.

“Well, probably one of my favorite moments, and I know how self-centered this sounds, was being honored with an all festival cast award. All the stress and work I had put in for that role suddenly clicked. It felt like the greatest thing that had happened to me in weeks, and I knew that If he [Dexter] were still here, he would have been proud of me because I did it for him,” said Falmouth’s senior Winslow Robinson. In the past few weeks, Falmouth’s theater company and the rest of the community have been grieving over the loss of Dexter Desrosiers. He was a hardworking, thoughtful, funny, young man who lost his life too soon. In loving memory of Dexter.

“I think my best memory of festival was this year when we had regionals at Thornton Academy. We had just set up our set for Ring Round the Moon, and the entire crew and I had just sat down. I knew we had got a good time of 4:26 for the set, which was our average, and the set looked good when I left the stage, but since our set was pretty complicated this year, I was still nervous to see it from the audience’s view. Finally, after a few minutes of waiting in the seats, the lights went down, and I got really anxious. My friends and I held each other’s hand, anticipating the big reveal. I heard the curtain open and squeezed my friends’ hands. Once the light came on the stage, I felt the entire audience gasp, and I felt ecstatic to be able to experience it with everyone. The set looked magical, and it made me cry to see all the work every person had put into this production during the past few months. It helped me realize that we all need each other, no matter what you are trying to accomplish. I think one of the reasons I love theater so much is because of the wonderful people you meet and how you can all work together to create a beautiful story. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of such an amazing company,” said Falmouth’s Cally Seymor.

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