AHS Drama Club logo
(Photo by/Elaine Rivera)
By: Joetta Nuahn
The Attleboro High School Drama Club’s play Snow Angel made it through the first round and advanced to the Massachusetts High School Drama semi-finals but didn’t advance further. Drama director Mr. Peter Tarsi explained the process.
Question: What is the drama festival?
Answer: The Massachusetts High School Drama Festival is a statewide tri-level tournament. Over 100 schools throughout the state participate. Each school produces a short play, no longer than forty minutes, and brings it – sets, costumes, actors, and everything – to one of the fourteen preliminary host sites. At each site, there are seven or eight schools performing different plays. Judges at each site select three schools to advance to the semi-finals two weeks later, and then judges select a total of fourteen schools to advance to the state finals two weeks after that.
Q: Who was in it? What parts did they play?
A: There was a cast of sixteen AHS students in our production of Snow Angel along with almost another twenty stage and technical crew members. The main parts were played by senior Adena Darkstar, who played Frida, a girl who’s an outcast among her peers. She keeps a journal of her encounters with Eva, played by junior Sarah Manlove, a girl Frida finds making angels in the snow. Other cast members include seniors Renee Giroaurd, Evan Laferriere, Eli Malo, Tyler Richardson, and Stephen Timas; juniors Kendra Cardoso, Delenn Martin and Sam O’Donnell; sophomores Joelle Mercier, Mark Murray, Alexis Ramos, James Scott; and freshmen Colby Goyette and Jalyn King.
Q: How was the experience at semi-finals?
A: Always exciting! There are wonderful plays there, and the point of the day is to experience great theater and interact with fellow theater-loving students from other schools. Win or lose, that’s what the kids remember most about the day: how much fun it was to be there.
Q: When was the last time AHS went to semis?
A: Last year. We’ve advanced to semi-finals for three straight years now, and six out of the past nine.
Q: Has AHS ever gone all the way in previous years?
A: We made it to the State Finals in 2003, but we haven’t since then.
Q: What is it like to see your work performed?
A: I’m always proud of the students. I stress that the results from the judges matter less to me than them taking pride in their work and putting on a good show. We consistently receive praise from other schools, and that’s a testament to the Blue Pride alive in the AHS Drama Club.
Snow Angel cast comments
Q: What was the play about?
A: ( Laferriere) The play is about a spooky ghost that never existed because some loner made her up to spice up their journal but then everyone read it and ran with the story and then everyone bonds with the loner when Eli burned down a shed in an attempt to impress a female.
A: (Manlove) The show takes place in a blizzard!
A: (King) It’s about fifteen teenagers spending their snow day together and trying to figure out what to write for homework.
Q: How many years have you been in drama?
A: (Laferriere) I’ve been in drama for four years.
A: (Malo) Attleboro High School drama club for three years. Four years for me.
A: (Manlove) Drama for three years.
A: (Scott) Attleboro Drama? Two years.
A: (Richardson) I’ve been in the drama club for four years.
A: (Ramos) I’ve been in Attleboro drama for two years.
A: (Murray) I just started performing in drama club this year.
A: (Mercier) I have been in drama club for two years
A: (King) One year
A: (Cardoso) Attleboro drama, three years for me.
A: (Girouard) I’m the vice president and I’ve been in drama for four years. Is there anything
you’d like to know about the festival?
Q: Yes, what is the festival? How long has there been a festival?
A: (Malo) The festival has been around forever. It is a tournament of plays.
A: (Girouard) It’s called the METG high school drama festival.
A: (Richardson) It’s the METG’s 64th festival and it’s Attleboro’s 17th year participating. The Festival is split into three rounds: prelims, semi-finals and finals. Three schools from each site are chosen to move on to semis and then two from each semis site are chosen to move on to finals. Attleboro was one out of 42 schools to move on to semi-finals, I believe.
Q: What character did you play? How would you describe your character?
A: (Scott) I played Gus, the lonely store worker who had about three friends. He was a part of me that I never really got to see before, so playing him was expanding on a part of me I hadn’t developed yet. It was incredible fun bringing life into the Pretzel Knot worker who was consistently always left alone. Preparing to function as him didn’t really take a whole lot of deviation from who I normally am. I listened to very Grunge rock and Black Metal, which was the lonely music during the 90s. Doofus was my friend along with Helen. I hung out with them more often than not.
A: (Cardoso) I played Fran. I have a twin name Betty.
A: (Manlove) I play Eva. She was the product of everyone’s imagination, specifically Frida’s. It was definitely hard preparing for Eva because she mirrored a couple of other characters when she met them. I had to watch everyone during rehearsals to figure out who their characters were so I could act accordingly.
A: (Laferriere) I was Clifford, a sociopath. I watched American Psycho [television show]. It was the usual.
A: (Girouard) I played Jill, a nice girl. It wasn’t hard for me to prepare for this role. We all had composition books that we did our character work in because our characters all had notebooks.
A: (Richardson) I played Vincent. He was kind of a nerd who owned a pet chameleon. It was a little harder to prepare than usual because of the missed rehearsals due to snow days, but luckily everyone in the cast was dedicated and really put their all into the rehearsals we did have.
A: (Murray) I played Doofus the class clown of the group, and the only hard parts were working around all the snow like Tyler said.
A: (Laferriere) I just watched American Psycho [television show] at least twice every snow day.
A: (King) I played a hyperactive girl named Ethel who was super crazy and talked really fast and forgets to take her pills. I am basically my character so it wasn’t really hard for me to play her. I loved traveling because I absolutely loved meeting people from the other schools who had the same passion as me. Being a newbie I was overwhelmed by the people and amazing talent at first, but then I realized that we were all there for the same reason … to act. I realized that we all cared about the same thing and at the end of the day that’s all that matters. I’m obviously sad that we’re not going on but it’s not because I think the other shows shouldn’t have its because I am sad that I won’t be surrounded by drama kids all trying our best and it just really inspired me, it just made me very happy. In short, festival was AWESOME and it gave me memories that I will always treasure
A: (Ramos) I played Betty, Fran’s fraternal twin.
A: (Mercier) I played Helen, a punk who bullied Frida, and in the end really was on her side, and realized that they were alike in many ways and befriended her. It was a challenge because I really love Adena (the girl who played Frida) and it was hard to be mean to her, but I did love being a strong, young lady, who didn’t care what others think. Advancing to semi-finals felt really nice knowing that what the cast as a whole produced was in the top three at our site. Not advancing to semi-finals was tough but I enjoyed seeing wonderful high school theater that you clearly knew was better but it was a good learning experience and it improves my acting seeing others act.
Q: What was it like to win the first round but then lose semis?
A: (Richardson) It felt really good to move on to semis because it meant that we got to show more people our show, people we knew would appreciate all of the hard work we put into it. And it also meant we got to do the same, see other schools whose members really put their all into fantastic performances.
A: (Scott) There is truly nothing else like it [festival]. It’s a fantastic display of color and sound. Beauty and Beastliness. I got to meet so many people whom I will call friend for a lifetime. I was very anguished by us not moving on, not due to the loss of the trophy, but the loss of Deer points, but I truly loved every minute of it.