Franklin Countys First News

Mt. Blue Theater Company holds 2020 Banquet

The Mt. Blue Theater Company held its annual banquet last week on Zoom.

Milo Dustin, left, and Molly Gurney in their sophomore year in the show "It's Kind of a Long Story."

FARMINGTON - This year’s theater banquet was notably different than in the past. Held over Zoom on May 8, the positive spirit of the event was palpable even if the participants sat in different parts of the school district. Theater students gathered to celebrate the successes of the year cut short by the pandemic; in fact, school ended with the one-act play festival in mid-production; open night left dangling, the costumes and scenery still eerily waiting in the wings for performers.

But, while not all the stories were able to be told, there was a definite sense of fun and fellowship during the banquet meeting. The annual trivia quiz was still part of the night, and seniors were honored with the annual senior slide show, reminiscing on the past four years of productions.

The highlight of the evening was the award presentation. Junior Rachel Spear received the Student Playwright/Director Award for her work on an original one-act play, “Wrath,” which the company was fortunate enough to perform once at the Maine Drama Festival in March. Spear began the school year with some ideas and a draft which she worked on steadily until auditions for the play in December. She thoughtfully crafted a play with multiple layers guided by many outside sources especially Dan Ryder, the theater company’s writing coach. Spear held auditions, cast the show, and directed it with guidance from Deborah Muise, the MBTC director, and with more technical help from teachers Kat Zachary, Ethan Wright, Michelle Neveux and Pam Chernesky. During rehearsals, Rachel showed definite maturity and empathy in her directing, and she earned a Playwright award at the Maine Drama Festival.

The Senior Theater Awards are presented each year to two seniors who’ve embodied the spirit of the theater company and have shown leadership, dedication, and talent. This year’s recipients were Milo Dustin and Molly Gurney. These two students have worked tirelessly on and off stage for their entire high school years. Milo began their roles backstage, particularly in painting sets. They spent many weekend hours in the theater shop creating masterpieces that were only painted over for the next show! Milo’s created a number of t-shirt designs as well.

Last year, Milo wrote and directed a one-act play that dealt with serious themes of grief and death. “Danser” was produced for the Maine Drama Festival at Mt. Blue High School and Milo was awarded a special commendation by the judges for their work on the script and direction. Milo has been the “theater dad” this year which is a special leadership position unique to the theater company. The responsibilities require them to be a role model, teacher, and mentor. While this year’s role was cut short, Milo’s going to use the skills they’ve developed next year and beyond when they study to be an elementary art teacher at University of Maine at Farmington.

Rachel Spear directing her show.

Molly Gurney has been in shows since her freshman year. She has been on stage in leading roles, for example in The Curious Savage, and in supporting roles, for example in “Foundations,” and she’s held multiple back stage roles—she makes a terrific stage manager, and her strength is legendary in the theater company so she’s always there to move heavy scenery. Molly has a way of making newcomers feel at ease, her positive disposition and sunny smile are infectious, and for that she was named this year’s “theater mom.” She is an expert at teaching theater games and organizing and taking charge. These are all skills which she will put to good use next year as she studies elementary education at UMF.

Along with Molly and Milo other seniors were recognized for their work this year in the theater company, namely Ben Marcotte, Jacob Miller, Phoebe Rogers and Isabelle Rogers, Jessie Johnson, and Emmett Trafton. While their year was cut short and our last shows could not be produced, the theater company thanks them for their work and wishes them luck in the future. We look forward to their visits to watch future plays at Mt. Blue in the coming years!

To check up on next year’s Mt. Blue Theater Company season, please visit the company's website:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 Responses »

  1. Pandemic or not "The Show Must Go On." A shout out again to Dan Ryder for supporting Rachel during this playwriting journey. We are so proud of her passion and drive for the arts. The support and guidance she has received over the years from all educators in the performing arts and music departments has been amazing!

  2. I know that strapping young man in blue on the chair

  3. So proud of all the Mt. Blue Theater students. Congratulations to Rachel Spear for her on going dedication to following her dream.

  4. Such talent.