Members of the Freeport High School cast and crew of “The Tinderbox.” Top row: Camden Wilbur, Kendall Richardson, Ian Smith, Enoch Boudreau, Bridgette Francoeur, Lukis Crowell, Mason Hall, Eva Simmons, Jack Freeman, Ava Torno and Zion Mezzapelle. Second row: Mira Goldman, Mackenzie Mills-Dudding, Natalie Libby, Natalie Unfricht, Jojo Mezzapelle, Gretchen Welle and Audrey Piltch. Front row: Nina Tiffany, Haley Demmons, Mikayla Feltis, Emily Garneau, Tommy O’Brien, Zane Aguiar, Katie Roy, Kyrstyn Koehling, Kaitlynn Webb, Jessica Garneau, River Pike and Soleil LeRiche. Courtesy of Mara Dale

For the first time in 15 years, Freeport High School won the Maine Drama Festival Class B state title last weekend, taking home awards for outstanding costumes, set design, lighting design and acting.

The cast of 16 and crew of 14 performed “The Tinderbox,” a 40-minute play based on Hans Christian Andersen’s dark fairy tale of love, loss and magic, at Ellsworth High School last Friday.

Assistant Student Director Katie Roy said it felt great to bring home a plaque acknowledging all their hard work.

“When they announced that we won, I was so ecstatic,” Roy said.

Director Mara Dale said she and her students were welcomed home as theater victors in a big way on Sunday.

“When we came in, we were police escorted and had a parade. The students’ parents got to shout and honk their horns,” Dale said. “I’m super proud of the work that they did and what they accomplished.”


In addition to winning the competition, several of Dale’s students received individual awards at the closing ceremony. Zane Aguiar and Jojo Mezzapelle won for excellence in acting; Will Spaulding and Gordan Foye won for set design; River Pike, Allison Peterson, Madison Collins, Jojo Mezzapelle and Zion Mezzapelle won for costume design; Enoch Boudreau won for light design; and the cast won for best ensemble work.

Dale said Boudreau’s award for his “masterful” lighting design was extra special because his cues didn’t properly download onto the computers at Ellsworth. She said he had to start from “scratch” and reprogram 80 lighting cues 25 minutes before the show started.

Aguiar, 18, who played the villain of the show and dazzled audiences with his sword-fighting skills, said he was confident his cast could win the competition.

“We have all worked so hard on this show for about two to three months now, and it’s so nice to see all our hard work come together in such a special way. I personally was not too surprised when we won,” Aguiar said. “We were pretty confident that the winner would be between us and Central High School, which was nerve-wracking. I knew our show was exceptional in all the different elements we were being judged on, so I was confident that we would win.”

Also performing at the festival were Stearns, Ellsworth, Oceanside, Cheverus and Fort Kent high schools as well as Monmouth Academy. All schools competing had five minutes to assemble their sets, 40 minutes to perform and five minutes to break down their sets. Three judges evaluated each performance based on timing, body movement, voice, lights, sound, makeup, hair, costumes and blocking, according to Dale.

As state champs, Freeport was invited to perform and attend theater workshops at the New England Drama Festival in April at Camden Hills Regional High School but had to decline due to scheduling conflicts, according to Dale.

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