By Ms. Laura Kreider (IMCOM)October 23, 2019
VICENZA, Italy -- Members of the Vicenza Soldiers' Theatre came back from Germany after a weekend full of showcase presentations, fun and five awards received at the 2019 IMCOM-Europe One Page Play Festival and Community Showcase.
The event was held in Stuttgart, Germany Oct. 11-13, and this year the U.S. Army Garrison Italy theater's recognitions included: Best Actor; Best Military Performance; Best Director; 2nd place showcase and 3rd place best playwright.
"It was a great weekend with workshops, improv, monologue competition and 15 one-page plays written, cast, directed, rehearsed and performed over the course of the weekend," explained Jerry Brees, USAG Italy entertainment director.
More than 50 people, cast and crew members, and 11 productions participated in this festival to present plays, said Brees, who was recognized for Best Director of a Community Showcase Production for "Short Term Affairs".
"It was another great year for USAG Italy, he continued, "most important was the opportunity to work with other Army Entertainment Programs, meet new friends, explore theatre, learn, grow and just have a great weekend filled with theatre and fun," said Brees.
According to him, the event is really all about getting together and working with other theatre people throughout Europe.
"Because of the distance, we often work in isolation and it's exciting to see what other Army Entertainment programs are presenting. The best part of the whole festival is having a chance to participate in plays with actors, directors, playwrights and technicians from other Army programs. We learn so much from each other while having such a great time," he continued.
He explained that the Community Showcase is an important part of the festival.
"We don't often get to see others work and it is a real treat to see, learn and experience different perspectives, creativity and artistry. Although there is recognition component, and we have the opportunity to be adjudicated with comments and critiques from theatre professionals, it's more of a community theatre experience than a competition. We loved experiencing new plays, musicals and youth performances as well as compelling and entertaining monologues. It brings a new dimension to what we do in our local community."
An additional section to the event were a variety of theatre workshops.
"They were an added benefit to the experience, allowing us to learn from theatre professionals in acting, directing, auditioning, improv and technical theatre," added Brees.
USAG Italy Soldiers' Theatre was also honored with recognition in the Community Showcase with second place for their short play "Short Term Affairs" featuring Angela Wilson and Carl Smith.
While Smith was recognized as Best Actor in the Community Showcase, Wilson was selected to perform her monologue on Sunday afternoon at the festival. Also, Tatiana Rosado Dunbar was recognized as 3rd place author for her original script "The Assistant" in the One Page Play Competition.
Last but not least, Best Military Performance in the One Page Play Competition was awarded to Sgt. Martin Sinlao, Vicenza Health Clinic, who is not new at receiving an award for his performances.
Sinlao was a cast member in the "Impulsive Laughter," a series of adult comedy shorts performed here for two weekends.
Sinlao describes the importance of working with people from other theatres.
"When everyone is surrounded by other strangers who are also trying to learn a script in less than a day, the environment gives you permission to take chances and let yourself be vulnerable. Being a part of a cast and crew requires immense amounts of selflessness and understanding that a performance is always a team effort. Above all, after you get to perform and the emotions catch up, you realize that the stress and frustrations are the very things that make everything worthwhile," he said.
Sinlao also highlights how community theater helps push each other to become better than before. "Learning lines, perfecting choreography, or remembering lyrics to a song are tedious yet fulfilling processes where you see someone develop from being completely oblivious, to mastering every single little nuance. Being a part of a community like the one at Soldiers' Theater is about growing and constantly discovering areas where you can grow and flourish."