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Stafford High School drama troupe earns honors

BY AMY FLOWERS UMBLE

Drama teacher Michael  D’Addario doesn’t throw  anything away.

And his students at Stafford High are probably  thanking him right now.  D’Addario held on to a rather  obscure script for more than  20 years, digging it out last  summer to show them.

They were so intrigued by  “A Fable” that they decided  to perform it in this year’s  theater competitions.

And that script helped the  ensemble beat 19 other drama departments to take first  place at the Southeastern  Theatre Conference’s annual  competition in Chattanooga,  Tenn.

The play is not well- known outside of acting  circles, D’Addario said. And  it requires a level of poise and  acting that most casts can’t  pull off.

But his students held firm,  and D’Addario had faith in  them.

They took the play to the  Virginia Theatre Association  Secondary School Theatre  Festival in Reston. Stafford  High came in second, out of  40 schools.

The top two schools from  10 states continue to compete at the Southeastern  Theatre Conference in Tennessee. The students had to  raise $16,000 to pay for the  trip.

Twenty Stafford High students traveled to Chattanooga earlier this month.  They included eight cast  members, four musicians  and eight crew members.

While there, students auditioned for college drama  programs and participated in  workshops.

But the highlight, D’Addario said, was performing  “A Fable” in the historic  Tivoli Theatre.

The play, written by Jean– Claude van Itallie, follows a  girl who leaves her fishing  village in pursuit of a beast.

“It requires finesse,”  D’Addario said. “If it’s not  executed well, it’s going to  look really bad. The actors  have to use little more than  their bodies and simple  props to tell complicated  stories.”

And the conference judges  loved the final production,  giving Stafford students rave  reviews.

Erin Lottes was named to  the All-Star Cast, and the  play also received a special  judges award for Outstanding Musicians for Josh El more, Olivia Haynes, Xaviar  Jenerette and Jessica Schue.

But the students didn’t  have time to rest on their  laurels.

Immediately upon returning to Stafford, they had to  begin work on the drama  department’s next offering,  “Alice in Wonderland,”  which will be performed in  mid-April.

 

Amy Flowers Umble: 540/735-1973  aumble@freelancestar.com

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