Concord CAST hits the road with Amadeus

CHS+CAST

Photo by Cynthia Irwin

Lindsay Irwin

Concord High’s very own production of Amadeus will compete in the March 22 Regional Drama Festival hosted by the New Hampshire Educational Theatre Guild.
Clint Klose, the show’s director, entered the play into the annual competition, this year taking place in three locations: Kingswood Regional High School, Sanborn Regional High School and Coe-Brown Northwood Academy. Of 22 participating schools, 6 will advance to the State Theatre Festival March 28 and 29.
CHS students who first staged Amadeus in the Christa McAuliffe Auditorium in January are happy to repeat their production, which earned rapturous reviews from audience members impressed by the sophistication of the show. The show takes over three hours to stage, and actors do not enjoy song or dance breaks.
Participation in the regional competition will require a sixteen-hour day of everyone involved. Cast and crew will start work at 7 a.m. and continue until 10 p.m. Productions will be judged while participants perform works in front of each other.
Concord students are scheduled to perform their show at the Kingswood location beginning at 8:55 a.m. Also performing during that block are Kearsage High School (performing The Godmother) and Pembroke High School (staging Check, Please).
Friends, family and other fans may certainly watch competition performances. Kingswood boasts an 850-seat theatre. Tickets to a single block of shows are $7 per person. Anybody who wants to watch all day Saturday–at Kingswood there are other blocks at 1:45 and 4:05 p.m.–can do so for $15.
If the Concord players, known on CHS and within the Concord community as CAST, proceed to the state finals, they will compete at Gilford High School. Whichever show wins there will be performed at New England Drama Festival in St. Johnsbury Academy in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, April 15-17.
Competition rules require shows to be shortened for regional competition. There will be a strict time limit of 30-40 minutes for each of the performances, and only 5 minutes are dedicated to putting up and taking down the sets.
“Cutting it down and having it work in such a strict time frame will be difficult,” said Klose. “It will definitely be a challenge to pull it off.”
The cast of Amadeus is mainly made up of ensemble members, and because the program for this has to be downsized from a show that was originally so lengthy, none of their scenes will be included. To put them to good use, Clint Klose is using them as tech, or backstage people who assemble and take down sets during the competition.
“The best part about it will be seeing people doing what they love in a different environment and setting, although it will definitely be harder to tell the whole story with shortened scenes,” said Meredith Dustin, an ensemble member involved in the production.
John Hatab, an Art Teacher at Beaver Meadow Elementary School, is in charge of the sets for the competition, as he was for the show at Concord High. A seasoned veteran of this process, he said his plan for festival is to keep it simple and not over-reach.
“The challenge of this is bringing your show and putting it on someone else’s stage. We will try to bring the essentials and not overwhelm the actors. The key is the size of the crew, and we definitely won’t be undermanned!” he said with laugh.
Competition at the regional, state and New England level tends to be fierce but friendly.
“The mood that permeates festival is that everyone cares for each other’s work, and it’s a great mix of competition and camaraderie,” said Hatab.