BAR HARBOR — Mount Desert Island High School is set to host the Eastern Regional of the Maine Drama Festival this weekend, which includes nine one-act plays, judge’s critiques and a “Tech Olympics” skills competition.
MDI has hosted the festival most years for decades, but this year, the Maine Drama Council assigned several larger (Class A) schools to the group. Bangor, Brewer, Belfast and Hampden Academy are all part of the lineup for this festival, along with Class B neighbors MDI, Sumner, Washington Academy, Shead and Deer Isle-Stonington.
Participants arrive during the day Friday to load in and do “tech-check” work, like focusing lights and marking where set pieces will go.
“The public is invited and encouraged to attend the festival, any of the sessions,” festival host Chris Dougherty said. Tickets are sold for each of three blocks of three plays each. They are $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors 65 and over per session of three plays.
Friday night’s block begins at 7 p.m. sharp with “No Rules Were Broken in the Making of This Play,” a comedy by John Lincoln presented by Deer Isle-Stonington. Next are a drama called “Crime Scene – Do Not Cross” by Paige Malkow from Hampden Academy and the drama from MDI, “The Insanity of Mary Girard” by Lanie Robertson.
Saturday at noon, Shead presents a comedy called “Superhero Sanitarium” by Scott Hann. Sumner’s contribution follows, a drama called “Unaccepted” by Joshua Bamford, then “The Nine Worst Breakups of All Time,” a comedy by Ian McWethy presented by Belfast.
The Tech Olympics is set for 3 p.m. Saturday. Dougherty said this piece of the festival is an MDI creation. “It has grown over the years, and it gives the tech crews a chance to show off,” she said. Events include box frame construction, cabling, light focusing and extending tape measures as high into the air as possible before they collapse on themselves.
The final three one acts, all comedies, begin Saturday at 6 p.m.: “Beware the Jabberwock” by Ron Nicol, performed by Bangor High School; “That’s Not How I Remember It” by Don Zolidis, performed by Washington Academy, and “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, performed by Brewer High School.
While the last three schools are receiving their critiques in the library following their performances, Mike Perlman is set to host a special “improv jam” with the rest of the students at 9 p.m.
An awards ceremony follows the final critiques at 10 p.m. Saturday in the theater.
Last year, MDI was the runner-up in Class B in the festival, after Ellsworth, who came out on top in the final rankings.