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High school students celebrate art of drama at festival

Twenty-two thespians of the Greater Fort Erie Secondary School(GFESS) recently returned from the competition season with the National Theatre School (NTS) festival previously the 75-year running Sears festival.
They performed three of David Ives plays: Sure Thing, The Philadelphia, and the Variations of the Death of Trotsky. Their performances were well received by the community and earned them merit awards at the competition.
Two of the three plays– Sure Thing and the Philadelphia–were directed by drama teacher Vince Marinaccio, but the third and most challenging pieces, The Variations of the Death of Trotsky was directed by Grade 11 student Emma Kacur.
This was Kacur’s first year directing. This was her second time going to the NTS festival where she was a producer for the show.
With such talented classmates to direct the experience was “great” she said, and described it as “a true learning experience.”
Kacur chose to direct this piece of the three Marinaccio had suggested because of its complex, historic and adventurous script.
When asked if she would tackle directing again, Kacur said she would.
“I would love to and it’s great to have the experience for post-secondary.”
Another Grade 11 student audiences won’t get to see on stage, but has the most difficult of tasks is stage manager Arianna Conavan.
Being a stage manager for one show is tough enough but she took on the stressful but fulfilling role for all three.
This was Conavan’s first year at GFESS and was worried about the transfer from her former school. But, when she arrived on the first day in September, Conovan said she was welcomed.
Finding the drama club was even more instrumental in finding a home within the school. When offered to stage manage she had no idea what that actually entailed.
“The life skills I learned in these past few months like teamwork and organization are excellent for my future,” she said.
With all the stress and the demanding schedule, Conavan smiled and relayed that she would do it again next year and hopefully even in post-secondary.
Garion Fenning is only in his first year of high school but was a major part of production on lights and Grade 10 student Noah Kormendy on sound. The two students both only had about five days (respectively to each play) to work with the cast of each play to make sure everything ran smoothly. Fenning was “intrigued” by the complex skills it takes to design lighting something he will continue throughout high school.
Kormendy likes the in the moment reflexes you gain from sound production and had to battle through a broken soundboard during rehearsals.
The production side of theatre is not for the average person a lot of time and skills go into making sure every aspect of the show is ready for the actors and dancers to perform.
These four along with the rest of the talented thespians are on an exciting path into the theatrical world. Even though the festival season is done the students might have another chance to perform if they can stick together for a few more months of rehearsals. The In the Soil Arts Festival in St. Catharines has invited them to perform mid-June.