2009 One Act Play Festival Review

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FAMDA hosted its ninth South Gippsland One-Act Play Festival at Foster Arts Centre on 7 and 8 August.

There were over one hundred people in the audience at each of the three adult sessions and a surprising number sufficiently keen to be there also to be delighted by the young performers on Saturday morning.

The format for the festival with plenty of cabaret style seating and the opportunity for people to bring their own drinks and nibbles meant that it was a very friendly social event and the calibre of the plays provided a wonderful smorgasbord of theatrical entertainment.

The adjudicator, Melbourne theatrical icon, Gaye Gay, provided some interesting commentary after each session so that even those who came for only one session were treated to some interesting theatrical insights.

After the Friday night session, with plays staged by Wonthaggi Theatrical Group and FAMDA, Gaye spoke enthusiastically on using costumes to develop character, employing examples from the plays which had just been staged.

After the youth performances Gaye spoke separately to the primary and secondary school students emphasising the importance of having fun but also encouraging teamwork and providing practical hints on moving naturally on stage.

In the afternoon her focus was on the contribution of sets to a good play, again with examples from the plays which had just been staged by Latrobe, Warrandyte and Beaumaris theatre companies.

Of course the final summary on Saturday evening concentrated on acting.

Gaye spoke with great enthusiasm and conviction on the plays which had been presented over the course of the festival. She stressed the fact that she was most impressed with the calibre of the productions and that she had had great difficulty in singling out winners from the list of nominees she had assembled while watching the plays.

The award winners were presented with trophies made locally by Vern Stone and Robin Henry plus substantial cheques. Beaumaris Theatre Company, as the presenters of the winning play, ‘An Englishman Abroad’, went home $1000 richer.

The most outstanding actors, Aldo King as Mike in ‘St Francis Talks to the Birds‘ staged by Warrandyte Theatre Company, Jenny Tudor as Coral Browne in ‘An Englishman Abroad’ and Rita Crispin as that play’s director all received cheques for $250 as well as their trophies.

There were also awards for best youth performance (Nungurner Primary School ‘Pigmalion’ with Matthew O’Brien as the Best Actor), best design (Warrandyte TC for ‘Borneo) and an adjudicator’s choice award which went to Vicki Doak as Ginger in ‘A Dog’s Life’ staged by Encore Theatre from Clayton.

The Victorian Drama League Encouragement award was presented by Edna Bartlett to a supporting actor, Brad Boucher, who played Jerry Profit in Wonthaggi Theatrical Group’s staging of ‘Artistic Truth’.

Audience members felt they had been richly entertained and several commented they vowed to return next year with more friends for this feast of theatrical entertainment.

Congratulations to all who contributed to making the festival such a success, Festival organiser, Bruce Crowl, adjudicator Gaye Gay, FAMDA’s sponsors, the theatre companies who have entered plays in the Festival and the audience members who came along to enjoy it all.

Find the full list of winners and nominees in each category and photographs

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