Monday Evening @ The 66th Annual Sears Drama Regional Festival
This post is also published on www.CKReview.ca
The 66th Annual Sears Drama Festival is under way and the second tier, the regional level is being held right here in Chatham at The Chatham Cultural Centre. There are 14 plays over 5 nights (Monday April 23 – Friday April 27th) Doors open at 6pm to the general public tickets are $10.00 per evening available at the box office, lobby or through CKtickets.com
As a former participant and passionate theatre lover I like to give you my opinion on the productions each evening, I try to take the stance of the adjudicator during a public adjudication, therefore I’m not here to rip apart any teenage actors or directors, but I’m not going easy on these kids either as this festival is known as the birth place of many Canadian stars!
Le Bourreau an original piece written collectively by Esprit Essor acting troupe of Ecole Secondaire l’Essor (Windsor-Essex) is a beautiful dark piece that examines the deterioration of the human condition, the piece totally in french was not the easiest piece for me to sit through as my french is terrible. Stepping outside of the story line I examined the work from a more technical angle. There was great use of lighting, minimal but great, using a bare stage can be a daring thing to accomplish, but through use of light isolation and character’s reactions to the environment I felt drawn to the 1800′s and the costuming only confirmed my thoughts.
The Escape by St. John’s College (Brant-Haldimand) student written and directed by Victoria Hudson-Muir is a dark comedic look at a twisted paternal love. I loved this production, every detail was very finely scrubbed out. Every character had as significant persona that stuck in your mind, you could tell all the actors put a lot of background work into their roles. It’s easy to see the difference between someone who is regurgitating memorized lines and some one who is speaking the lines as if they were their own words, in this production nobody was satisfied with bland memorization. The great failure of a acting troupe leader and his assistant look like they love every minute on stage and the audience loves it too. Technically speaking I loved the use of the stage, a simple pair of curtains set upstage left stands as the “wings” for the stage within a stage and it becomes very clear what is backstage and what is the stage within a stage.
Beyond Tolerance Produced by Chatham Kent Secondary School (Lambton-Kent) is a deep, dark, drama. The message behind this production is that common sense is only common sense when it is common. The costumes were wonderfully designed and coordinated, as well the use of masks was executed very well. Some times the use of masks can be done very poorly or ineffectively but the ensemble work combined with the uniform masks created a very anonymous feeling overall to the characters but we could see the uniqueness in the characters through their actions and demeanour. The lighting accented each scene perfectly and helped to create multiple environments. I was very happy to see that the tableau work in this production has greatly improved from the last time I saw it.
Adjudicator – Debbie Barton Moore
Debbie has 34 years of experience in the theatre world including teaching, directing, writing and producing. Debbie spent 19 years teaching drama as the department head at Northern Secondary School in Toronto. Many of her students have continued on to successful careers in theatre, film and television.
She has created a playwriting course , directed for The Toronto Fringe Festival, performed with Blackwater Productions, she serves as a member of CODE and Sears Drama. Debbie hs delivered over 80 workshops to teachers and students on various aspects of drama in education.
Debbie has been an adjudicator for The Sears Drama Festival for six years now and also adjudicates for GTA drama festivals.
In 2004 she was awarded the OSSTF Women in Leadership Award for her role as a leader in drama throughout the GTA.
Debbie knows that drama in education helps young people develop life skills and insights into the human condition that will benefit them on whatever life path they choose.
Monday April 23
Le Bourreau – Ecole Secondaire l’Essor (Windsor Essex)
The Escape – St John’s College (Brant-Haldimand)
Beyond Tolerance – Chatham Kent S.S. (Lambton-Kent)
Tuesday April 24
The Man Who Laughs – Grimsby S.S. (Niagara)
Much Ado About Shakespeare – Leamington D.S.S. (Windsor-Essex)
Sunnyside Meadows – John McGregor S.S. (Lambton-Kent)
Wednesday April 25
Anonymous – St. Jean de Brebeuf (Hamilton-Wentworth)
Rhinoceros – Ridgeway-Crystal Beach (Niagara)
The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet – Cayuga S.S. (Brant-Haldimand)
Thursday April 26
Never Swim Alone – Park Side Highschool (Hamilton-Wentoworth)
Sophie’s Picture -F.J. Brennan Highschool (Windsor Essex)
Lockdown – Stamford Collegiate (Niagara)
Friday April 27
A Case of the Munschies – Brantford C.I.V.S. (Brant-Haldimand)
Triangle – Westdale S.S. (Hamilton-Wentworth)