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Monday, February 24, 2020
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EDSS drama production heading to regionals

Elmira high school group picks up six awards at Waterloo District National Theatre School Drama Festival

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The EDSS drama team put on quite a good show at the Waterloo District National Theatre School Drama Festival – or rather, a pair of shows – if the results are anything to go by.

Putting on two separate productions at district-level competition in Cambridge last week, the EDSS team picked up six awards, including the school-wide Spirit of the Theatre award, and earned a berth at the regionals.

With an additional play to put on at this year’s festival, the EDSS team had twice the opportunity to impress at the annual event, but also more roles to remember, rehearsals to attend and pressures to overcome.

“It is a huge challenge, because you’re using a lot of the same actors and the same crew,” admitted EDSS drama instructor DJ Carroll. He explained the festival was looking for an additional play to compete, so EDSS offered to fill the part with a student-created production.

The school’s main submission to the festival, A Grimm Night, was a story based off the popular Brothers Grimm and their book of fairytales. Put together in a joint collaboration between Carroll, the student directors and actors, the show earned the team an award in outstanding production.

“The stories are based on a bunch of Grimm Fairy Tales,” explains Carroll. “The story is about the Brothers Grimm who are travelling the countryside collecting stories, folks tales and other things from local villages. They stop at an inn during a stormy night. And during the stormy night, a bunch of people in the inn act out stories for the brothers.”

The production saw EDSS students Hadley Mustakas and Maddie McCormack win the award of merit for acting, while Phoebe Martin received the award of merit for her work on the show’s props.

Carroll wrote the outline for the production, “And then we had three student directors who each took one of the Grimm stories we were telling, and they expanded on it and they directed the actors. And as we were work-shopping it, the actors gave feedback and they helped edit and add to the story and finally create this, well, we’ll call it a collaborative piece.”

The second production, entitled Oswald that Ends Well, started life as a Grade 12 student drama project by Simon Zenker, but was morphed by Zenker and the team into an entire one-act play.

“Basically, the premise of his play was, ‘Wouldn’t it be stupid if?’ And it turned into a farcical story about two detectives who are trying to stop some criminals from stealing all the cheese sticks in the world,” said Carroll. “It was quite funny. It had people rolling on the floor, which is great.”

The production earned Zenker an award of excellence for writing, directing and acting, while the cast of Oswald received the award for excellence in ensemble acting.

With a house-raising performance at the Waterloo district festival last week, the EDSS team will see the competition rise as they are joined by fellow district finalists at the regionals, starting next week at the Bear Creek Secondary School in Barrie.

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