The North Reading High School Masquers Club won recognition at the recent drama fest sponsored by the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild, becoming one of three teams in their division to move on to the semifinals March 19 at B.M.C Durfee High School in Fall River.
The Masquers, advised by teachers Allison Kane and Laura Hargrove, moved on from the first round at Ipswich High School on March 5 for their performance of Arnold Wesker's one-act play The Kitchen.
Club president and stage manager Kassondra Glenn said she believes there is a special quality to the Masquers' acting.
"The cast and crew have worked so hard together that it has bonded us," Glenn said. "Those bonds shine through on stage. It's part of what allows us to succeed."
Janelle Yull, who plays a major role in the production, had a similar take on Masquers.
"Being on stage with my 'family' is one of the best feelings," she said. "Being able to bring our town together with the students and our directors and all the support we get from parents makes me proud."
Their work as actors was to take on the roles of wait staff in The Kitchen. The daily bustle of food preparation and service is the vehicle for a drama of social realism, a form of expression that takes a hard look at commonplace social conditions and asks its audience to evaluate the complexity of human experience, particularly in an environment of injustice.
As the staff is made to work under pressure and in inadequate conditions day after day, the tension builds and the actors are called upon to create nuanced dynamic characters.
"It was incredible to be so welcomed and appreciated by other students who work as hard as we do. I learned much about myself and my acting in just one day," said Sarah Lilley, who plays a waitress.
Cast member Erin Brooks commented, "The experience is so amazing. It will be a distinct memory I take from my high school years. It encompasses everything wonderful about theater and performing."
Glenn's words summed up what others also took away.
"The feeling was electrifying," she said. "Anything more that ensues as we continue in the competition will be an extra bonus."
In addition to the team recognition at the regional event, the club received several individual awards, including: