The Fall Mountain Regional High School drama club recently participated in the New Hampshire Educational Theatre Guild Drama Festival in Plymouth, NH, competing for the fourth consecutive year and performing a staged version of the cult film classic Night Of The Living Dead.
In the regional competition, the FM drama troupe was one of four schools picked to participate in the State Drama Festival held in Gilford, NH, of which only two of 12 schools are chosen to participate in the New England Drama Festival in Falmouth, ME.
The Fall Mountain production also received additional awards for set design and All-State Cast with senior Anthony Van Laere.
All performances must be of one act, and can be no longer than 40 minutes, while all members of the play must be present for all performances as well as listening to the adjudicators for all shows or risk being disqualified from the competition.
"Theater festivals are such a great way for Fall Mountain students to see top-quality, high school theater," FM drama teacher and production director Dakota Benedetto in a recent interview.
"They also get the chance to meet other performers from around the state and also get important feedback from theatrical professionals.
"They spent their day watching other performances and listening to the adjudicators critique the other plays, before going on as the last production of the event.
The show went on beautifully, including some laughter, as well as some shrieks, from the audience.
"The cast ended their play with the lights going out, then for a brief instant the lights come back on with all Zombies lined up on the stage, and pouncing on their next victims in the front row of the audience. Then the lights go out one final time."
"Teching" is also a part of the competition, in which each drama team must show the judges that they can set up and take down their set within a five minute time frame.
Another challenge is having to quickly learn unfamiliar sound and light boards for the competition.
"When the performance was over they had to clean up their sets, make-up and costumes," Benedetto continued.
"At that time they had time for some dancing, eating and making new friends from different schools, while waiting for the adjudicators to make their final decisions.
"When the decisions were in, Fall Mountain was chosen to move on to the NH State Drama Festival for the first time ever."
The advancement, however, allowed the students just one week of fundraising to help defer the cost of participating in the state festival, in which case they put on a show for family, friends and classmates to raise funds.
A true, all-around team effort in which the entire drama troupe should be extremely proud of.
The student cast included Hillary O'Brien, Kyle Gray, Shelby Allen, Anthony Van Laere, Melissa Jellie, Kirk Grimsley, Lindsay Sanchesz-Navaro, Marie Simoneaux, Kevin Padula, Danielle Rios, Rebecca Streeter, Jessica Neilson, Bobby McSweeney, Alex Waters, Olivia Dreifuss, Paige Lambert, Cara Logerfo, Jaqi LaChapelle, India Stribling, Abby St. Pierre, Tyler Gendron, Miara Beauregard and Emily Jellie.
The production staff included Kim Gray, Garrett Barnes, Emma Carmody and Nina Simoneaux, the cast stage manager was Molly Tobin and the director was the aforementioned Benedetto.
Dakota Benedetto and Peggy Jellie also contributed information to this article.