Golden drama performances

Alicia Elson
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Emily Harris wins best overall actor award

A group from Mealy Mountain Collegiate called the Ike Rich Players stole the show with their masterful rendition of Don Zolidius’ play “Crushed” during the Labrador Regional High School Drama Festival held at the end of March.  

Awards included best overall actor (Emily Harris), people’s choice and the biggest award of the evening, best production, which secured the troupe of 12 a spot in the upcoming provincial high school drama festival, showcasing at the Longshoremen's Protective Union (LSPU) Hall in St. John’s in May.

Ike Rich Players cast members, including Heidi Applin and Jamie Felsberg, were ecstatic and grateful for the win.

The title was particularly special for the pair as both students are in the final year of high school and performing with the Ike Rich Players. 

Like their cast members, Applin and Felsberg were elated to hear their group declared as the winners this year.

“It was overwhelming. We were so excited we all sat with our hands held and just sitting together it was so exciting,” Applin said Saturday, March 29 following the awards ceremony.

Applin, who played an impressive six roles in the play, became involved in drama in Grade 7.

“This is the most times I’ve ever changed characters in a play so it was a little bit different, but it was interesting and fun.”

“We had a great cast,” Felsberg said of his cast mates. “ We were like family.”  Applin added: “We put it off really well. We were really, really impressed with how we did.”

The group had been working together practicing the play for about a month. Upon the week of the festival, Felsberg and Applin said drama students were expected to be practicing every day of the week, including Sunday, until the big showcase evening on Wednesday.

“It all came together so beautifully and we were all having so much fun onstage,” said Felsberg.

Tara Kennedy, teacher at MMC and one of two directors of the Ike Rich Players, was equally impressed with the hard work of those involved in the production.

“Working with the students, they are a really great group of kids, really, really talented, they make our job really easy. Working with my co-director Jennifer White, who is also a teacher at MMC and just seeing their performance … they were awesome.

“It was really good to watch all the talent from across Labrador, together and there were absolutely wonderful plays and I know it must have been a hard decision for the adjudicator because there are so many talented teenagers in Labrador.”

This year’s adjudicator for the Labrador region, Dr. Jamie Skidmore, a professor of contemporary theatre and theatre arts at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, said the competition from Labrador this year was remarkable. 

Skidmore happened to be in town working with the Mokami Players and directing the play titled, “The Girl in the Gold Fish Bowl,” and seized the opportunity for the role of adjudicator. 

With more than 30 years of experience in the performance arts, Skidmore said it is always a treat to see the young talent coming from the communities across Labrador.

“The difficult part is making that final decision because all of the groups are really amazing and terrific and it’s hard to say, ‘OK, this group is the best,’” Skidmore admitted. 

“There’s a lot of talent up and down the coast.”

In the coming weeks, the cast of Ike Rich Players will be busy fundraising for their travel expenses and preparing for their grand performance, where they will compete against other top high school drama groups from Newfoundland.

The following is a breakdown of award winners from this year’s Labrador Regional High School Drama Festival:

 • Best actor by community — Charlie Mae Dyson and Carrie Lou McNeil (tie), Makkovik; Natalie Lane, Hopedale; Claire Sainsburg, Cartwright; Shania Williams, Rigolet; Toni Lampe, Nain; Jamie Felsberg, Happy Valley-Goose Bay; Jack Brennan, Labrador City.

• Best overall actor — Emily Harris, Happy Valley-Goose Bay;

• Best sound design —Les Rigollettes;

• Best costumes — Menihek High School;

• Best climactic scene — Nalujuk Players;

• Best ensemble — Nillinalugit Players;

• Best visual presentation — Henry Gordon Academy Players;

• Best Mise-en-Scène — The Pastime Players;

• Best production (drama festival winner) — Ike Rich Players.

Organizations: Ike Rich Players, Protective Union, LSPU Memorial University of Newfoundland Henry Gordon Academy

Geographic location: Labrador, Happy Valley, Goose Bay Makkovik Hopedale

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  • Mitchell Eddy
    April 04, 2014 - 16:57

    It was so much fun participating in the festival. Ike Rich really is a family