IMCOM-Europe presents theater awards
October 21, 2008
HEIDELBERG, Germany - A high energy parade of Jules Feiffer's well-known revue sketches captured the big prize for the Army Europe Festival of One Act Plays, as SHAPE Performing Arts Center's production of "Hold Me" was named Best Show at the annual event sponsored by Installation Management Command-Europe.
This neurotically funny collection of vignettes featured a cast of nine versatile actors (winners, "Best Ensemble") who embodied a wide array of quintessential New Yorkers coping as best they can with the overwhelming challenges of life and love in the big city.
This 14th annual festival, held Oct. 10-12 at Heidelberg's Roadside Theater, featured performances by 13 competing U.S. Forces community theater groups.
The high quality of this year's diverse offerings meant there were plenty of kudos to go around.
Bamberg's Stable Theatre was honored for second place Best Show, "The Actor's Nightmare," which also scored a Best Actor award for Sgt. James Cheatham and a second place Best Director nod for Spc. Patrick Gleason. The third-place Best Show winner was from Kaiserslautern's KMC OnStage, for the demented comedy "Wanda's Visit," which swept Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Martin to a Best Supporting Actress win.
Ansbach Terrace Playhouse garnered six awards for a compilation of three Adam and Eve stories performed together under the title "The Genesis of Relationships," including Best Performance in a Minor Role for Spc. John Favors' particularly hip and tempting "Snake." Wiesbaden's Amelia Earhart Playhouse entry, "The Prettiest Girl in Lafayette County," earned a Best Actress trophy for Sanja Parkos, as well as a second place actor award for co-star John Seward. Young Heather Miska made a mighty impression in Schweinfurt Abrams Entertainment Center's "The Game," and was named Best Youth performance.
Still, it was SHAPE's night, and "Hold Me" also scored for Best Director (Dan LaMorte), Stage Manager (Thomas Reich) and Overall Design. Its Best Show status qualifies "Hold Me" to represent Region Ten (Overseas Military Theatres) at the National Theatre Festival sponsored by the American Association of Community Theatre next June in Tacoma, Wash. During AACT's biannual festival cycle years like this one, the One Act Festival serves as the AACT Region Ten qualifying contest.
Military community theater participants from sites in Germany, Belgium and Italy converged in Heidelberg, not only to entertain their fellow enthusiasts by performing their one act play, but also keen on honing their theatrical skills in acting and stagecraft through classes and critical observation of other productions.
The educational dynamic of the festival was always in evidence as three adjudicators offered a 15-minute critique to the cast, crew, director and audience immediately following each performance.
Tracy Freidman, an award-winning director and theater teacher at Cal State Northridge; Brid McBride, a freelance Irish arts critic; and Paul Bourne, an artistic director for Menagerie Productions in England, offered lively and passionate observations to the rapt participants and audience, with the intent of reinforcing good work while offering suggestions for improvement.
Theater skills workshops provided additional tools for field staff and volunteers to carry with them to improve the programming in their home theaters. Friedman offered tips on choreographing for untrained dancers; Bourne led a lively acting workshop; and a festival favorite, Morrie Enders, an artistic director with Michigan's Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, offered his well-traveled class in promoting community theater.
Enders had also helmed the popular monologue workshops, which resulted in selected performances being publicly performed and adjudicated. Stuttgart's Raqi Barnett was cited for the Best Monologue presentation. Festival technical director Vic Phillipson instructed on effective uses of free theatrical and promotional resources available on the Internet.
The festival culminated with a traditional showcase performance, which this year featured a haunting professional production direct from the famed Edinburgh Theatre Festival: "Correspondence" by Claire MacDonald.
Immediately afterwards, the crowded theater became even more charged as participants learned the outcome of the adjudicators' decisions in 12 categories. It was also announced that the prestigious Irving Berlin for Programming Excellence was awarded to USAG Heidelberg's Roadside Theater, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Best Show: "Hold Me," SHAPE Performing Arts Center
Second Place: "The Actor's Nightmare," Bamberg Stable Theatre
Third Place: "Wanda's Visit," Kaiserslautern KMC OnStage
Best Director: Dan LaMorte, "Hold Me"
Second Place: Spc. Patrick Gleason, "The Actor's Nightmare"
Third Place: Barb Heidt, "Bel Canto," Stuttgart Theatre Center
Best Actor: Sgt. James Cheatham, "The Actor's Nightmare"
Second Place: John Seward, "The Prettiest Girl in Lafayette County," Wiesbaden Amelia Earhart Playhouse
Third Place: David Schwab, "Wanda's Visit"
Best Actress: Sanja Parkos, "The Prettiest Girl in Lafayette County"
Second Place: Sylvia Rausch, "Do Not Go Gentle," Mannheim Off Main Street Theater
Third Place: Beth Allard, "The Genesis of Relationships," Ansbach Terrace Playhouse
Best Supporting Actor: Collin Jones, "Do Not Go Gentle"
Second Place: Joey Warwick, "Red Riding Hood: A Vaudeville Romp," Ramstein Razz-Ma-Tazz Family Theatre
Third Place: George Linka, "The Script," Grafenwoehr/Vilseck Bavarian Arts Guild
Best Supporting Actress: Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Martin, "Wanda's Visit"
Second Place: Laurence De Olivera, "Bel Canto"
Third Place: Holly Matesick, "The Script"
Best Performance Minor Role: Spc John Favors, "The Genesis of Relationships"
Second Place: J. Lee Sweet, "Wanda's Visit"
Third Place: Paul Farinosi, "The Genesis of Relationships"
Best Ensemble: "Hold Me"
Second Place: "Red Riding Hood: A Vaudeville Romp"
Third Place: "The Genesis of Relationships"
Best Monologue: Raqi Barnett, Stuttgart Theatre Center
Second Place: Jeanne Ragonese, Heidelberg Roadside Theater
Third Place: Liz Nye, Kaiserslautern KMC OnStage
Special First Place Award for Excellence in Overall Design: "Hold Me"
Second Place Overall Design: "The Genesis of Relationships"
Third Place for Outstanding Props: "Graceland," Hohenfels Box Seat Theatre
Special First Place Award for Outstanding Youth Performance: Heather Miska, "The Game," Schweinfurt Abrams Entertainment Center
Second Place Award Outstanding Chorus Member: Julianna Knaup, "Red Riding Hood"
Second Place Award for New Writing: Steve DeVito, "Mona Lisa," Roadside Theater
Best Stage Manager: Thomas Reich, "Hold Me"
Second Place: Lucien Lockhart, "Wanda's Visit"
Third Place: Alixandria Ellis, "The Genesis of Relationships"
2008 Irving Berlin Award for Entertainment Programming Excellence: USAG Heidelberg Roadside Theater.