Saturday, April 09, 2005

ITM: Onward to Regionals

The thespianites from Ingram Tom Moore left the competition smoking like witch's brew in a cauldron on Saturday as they once again advanced a level with The Crucible. They will be competing next in Kingsville on Thursday, April 21 at regional competition, just one step away from state.

Wimberley is the other advancing crew with their production of The Beggar's Opera. Followers will note that these are the same two schools which advanced from District 27! And The Beggar's Opera, while good before, was improved this go-round. The directors quite obviously made some changes after the last judge commented on characterization, and those changes improved the flow and believability. They're going to be improved again at Regionals and remain the toughest competition for Ingram (and they have a fantastic theatre, with a foyer heavy with plaques and pictures from their long history of excellence).

While there was not (strangely in my opinion) a repeat of the Best Actor nod for Jonah Priour, four members of the ITM cast received honors, three of them for the first time this year. Jonah was named to the All-Star cast as was Aaron Hutto. John Ferguson and Meggie Nidever were named Honorable Mention.

The Best Actor award went to Shane Goins from Marion High School for his portrayal of Charles in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit. Best Actress was awarded (most deservingly) to Helyn Messenger for her portrayal of Mrs. Peachum in Wimberley's The Beggar's Opera.

While the District 27 competition was stronger overall in my opinion, there were some nice moments on Saturday. Other competitors included Carrizo Springs' A Typically Typical Day in which a flag, a snake and a mop bucket stole the show; Devine's The Traveling Lady by Horton Foote (which, incidentally was a specialty of the judge), and which had a couple of outstanding performances by Dillon Burleson as Slim Murray and Haylee Wells as Georgette Thomas; Marion's Blithe Spirit, which in addition to Goins had fine performances by Lindsey Hattaway as Elvira, and Elizabeth Birkenfeld as Edith; and Lytle's A Company of Wayward Saints, which featured some fine actors, but an awkward cutting and blocking of the play (IMHO) -- kudos to Daniel Cate as Scapino, Monique Wimberly as Colombine, and Matt Ellison as Pantalone.

The Crucible was a smoking performance, topped only by the performance at District and last Thursday's hometown show. The adrenaline was high and everyone was pretty much dead on. If there was anything to grouse about, it was that occasionally there was too much adrenaline. That's a nice problem to have.

John Ferguson and Cadi Hawkins in particular had a magical moment in the scene where Reverend Hale confronts Mary Warren about the making of the poppit. Not once before in 30 or so rehearsals/performances i've seen have they so captured that moment.

Patrick Wade did an especially nice job as Reverend Parris -- he gets better every show. Gary Givens was his usual stout Judge Hathorne. He is easily the easiest to conjure up as someone of advanced age in this cast.

Whitney Wilson was Tituba-plus on Saturday. I don't believe there is another actor at ITM who could handle that role as well as she does.

I personally think it's a shame that Lillian Beaudoin doesn't get the recognition she should for her Abigail Williams. I honestly think she is deserving of a Best Actress award, but i'm afraid that her not being onstage throughout the show limits her chances. She has truly mastered the character.

Finally, i'd like to mention some of the actors who routinely turn in outstanding performances but about whom we rarely hear -- Mindy Cox, Allyson Widener, Suzanne Attridge, Mikaela Lewis, Jeff Widener, and Anthony Goodman all have had a great run.

Gary Givens, who is a member of the cast, has his own blog at www.gtgivens.com. From that i find out the following other regional competitors:

Needville -MacBeth
Aransas Pass -The Miss Firecracker Contest
La Feria -The Miracle Worker
Zapata -Medea

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