February 25, 2005
"The plays" will definitely be "the thing" on Saturday, March 12, when more than 100 young actors from five different area high schools converge on the University of Maine at Fort Kent for the annual Northern Maine Drama Festival.
Taking part in this year's competition will be teams of thespians from Fort Kent Community High School, Easton High School, Limestone Community School/Maine School of Science and Mathematics, Houlton High School, and Schenck High School of East Millinocket.
"We are honored to host this event, and any event that encourages participation in the performing arts in northern Maine," said Aaron Bernstein, production associate for UMFK's Fox Auditorium, where the day-long competition will be held.
The UMFK-hosted drama festival is the northern region division II competition for schools with less than 500 students.
One of the five high school drama teams will be chosen by the judges to go on to the state festival, where the winner of division II will join the winner of the division I state festival in representing Maine in the New England Drama Festival.
The event will feature a three hour afternoon and a two hour evening performance session, during which teams will stage their productions of no more than 40 minutes. The hour time slot factors in a five minute set-up period, five minutes of tear-down time and a ten minute "grace period".
Following each performance session, the cast and crew of each play are subject to a short critique period with the event judges. The judges offer praise, constructive criticism, and tips for improving each production before the state competition.
Bernstein and his Fox Auditorium production team are preparing the theatre for the event and ensuring details, such as providing a production room for each team to use for set storage, costuming and make-up, and lining up volunteers and various other items are taken care of.
The public is encouraged to attend both the morning and afternoon sessions of play productions. Specific session times will be announced in the coming days.
Tickets will be sold at the door for each session for a minimal charge that has not yet been determined by the Maine Principals' Association, the organization responsible for the event.
Members of the public interested in attending the drama festival are to be advised that no one may enter the auditorium until the staged play has ended. Audience members leaving the room during a production will only be allowed to return to their seats between plays.
For more information on the Northern Maine Drama Festival, contact Bernstein at (207) 834-7893.