WELLAND – The 66th Niagara District Sears Drama Festival opened Monday. This year’s adjudicator is Kelly Daniels, artistic director of Lyndesfarne Theatre Company in St. Catharines.
The festival is featuring 12 productions from around Niagara. This year three productions will move on to the regional competition in Chatham.
The opening of this year’s festival was South Lincoln High School’s production of Coming Home by Meredith Short. Minimal set pieces created an open feel as the major set pieces created a bridge and sand pit. The ensemble cast led by narrator Emily Sutherland explored the process of growing up.
The closing show for the evening was Fort Erie’s second show, May I Have Your Attention Please? Daniels asserted the play was a “hard topic, challenging, gripping and engaging” with a “fabulously strong acting with firm, clear commitment.”
It was a humorous look at a contemporary family as they lounge in the family room on a Friday night. The typical older brother, younger sister, mom and dad have guests over while waiting for the middle brother to come home. Frequently late, rarely dependable, the “Jim Carey” of the family sends a DVD instead, the only way to get everybody’s attention.
While the show starts with clever humour, it becomes apparent that all is not well. Tyler Barron, Sarah Ward and Brent Gorrie shone with sharp delivery and convincing character.
“The show had fabulous use of the props and I love that you used live TV,” commented Daniels. “Look for the signs” of teen depression comments one character as he summed up the theme of the play.
The festival continued Tuesday evening with shows from Centennial, Ridgeway and St. Catharines Collegiate.
The Sears Drama Festival continued Wednesday with performances from Stamford Collegiate, St. Francis Catholic High School and Eastdale Secondary School.