The Maine Drama Festival, often referred to by participants as “Competition Play” or even just “Comp Play,” is something not many people seem to know about. It gets far less attention than the Fall Musical, and most students who aren’t participants couldn’t tell you what it actually entails.
In short, it is a competition in which schools from all over the state put together a one act play, and are judged based on their performance. There are three levels: Regionals, States, and New Englands. All participating schools compete in the Regionals, the winners of the Regionals move on to States, and the winners of States move on to New Englands.
For Comp Play this year, PIHS put on “Switched at the Crossroads,” a comedic melodrama written by John Healy. This was an unusual choice. “We had a genre that not a lot of people are exposed to,” said director Zack Powers. “It’s tough getting people to understand the concepts behind melodrama.” Despite the nuances of the genre, Powers said, “I was looking for some type of comedy, and the characters had personalities that mirrored the actors I knew I would be working with.”
Students participate in Comp Play for a variety of reasons. Connor Junkins ‘20 was in charge of the lights from the booth. “I did it because Mr. P asked me to,” Junkins said. Addie Smith ‘22, whose portrayal of Amelia Plumbworthy garnered her an All-Cast Award, said, “I’ve always loved theater and performing arts, even though I haven’t always participated in them.” In terms of what Smith enjoys the most, she said, “Aside from the fun of acting itself, getting to hang out with people I wouldn’t normally have met otherwise.”
Despite the cast’s best efforts, they placed 3rd in the Northern Regionals hosted at Lawrence High School on March 7, placing behind Freeport High School and Waterville High School. “I felt the results were unfair, and that we should’ve at least gotten second place,” said Smith. Junkins added he felt the results were, “Kinda’ bogus.”
In addition to Smith’s All-Cast recognition, Alyssa Addington ‘22 received recognition for her work in the sound booth.
“We had a good show and a cast that had a lot of fun,” said Powers. “We put on a good performance, regardless of the outcome.”