The cast and crew from MDI High Drama's production of "The Insanity of Mary Girard" celebrate after taking the state title on Saturday. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRIS DOUGHERTY

MDI Drama is tops in Maine



YARMOUTH — Mount Desert Island High School students and faculty earned their school its first state championship in the Maine Drama Festival in 20 years this weekend with their production of “The Insanity of Mary Girard” by Lanie Robertson.

Director Casey Rush said he thinks the team was successful because all the elements of the production were well integrated. “We decided that we would work as a team to develop the best overall production we could,” he said. “So we said, ‘Let’s just make sure that everything we do works together.’”

He also credited the group’s willingness to work hard, saying the group of upperclassmen actors understood his requests to keep working on a scene, or a moment, over and over again until they got it just right.

“They get it,” he said.

The cast and crew were met by a public safety escort when they returned home to MDI Sunday. “The kids were surprised and moved – they had no idea that was going to happen,” Rush said. “A couple of them started crying, they were just so excited.”

The cast is Mary Paola, Ethan Leonard, Sammie Park, Thistle Swann, Desmond Reifsnyder, Sarah Soucek and Emerson Jeffery.

Paola was named to the All-Festival cast. Alec Fisichella received a judges’ commendation for the original musical work he wrote for the play, “Steven’s Theme.” Max Cornman and Maev Rogers (scenic design) and Christina Closson (lighting design) also were commended for their work.

Julia Rush was the stage manager, Closson operated the light board, Piper Charron operated the video, Cornman and Ben Hagle were sound operators, and Rogers was the scenic dresser. Paola designed makeup and hair.

Rush said the video and sound design were key to his early visioning of the production. Sound designers Hagle, Jacob Sanner and Fisichella remixed recordings of a particular Chopin piece Rush had recommended. Except for the scenes with the original theme by Fisichella, “every other scene was some kind of manipulation of that Chopin tune, live mixing and manipulation of that track,” Rush said.

Similarly, Rush had had an idea about a video projection of the protagonists’ eyes and “the kids ran with it.” Video designers were Charron, Rosie Avila and Mason Gurtler.

The lighting crew included Arthur Dwyer, Katera Shelton, Eric Graves, Atty Brown, Aidan O’Connor, Gurtler and Charron.

The set construction crew was Cornman, Avila, Brianna Kerr, Maev Rogers, Anna Rogers and South Graves.

Rush directed the play, Grey Burkart was technical director for lighting and sound, Carlene Hirsch was technical director for scenic design, and Marilee Marchese served as costume designer.

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Managing Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Liz Graves is managing editor of the Islander. She's a California native who came to Maine as a schooner sailor.lgraves@mdislander.com

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