West takes top awards at RI drama festival

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After an intense weekend of both hosting the Rhode Island Drama Festival and performing in it, the cast, crew and directors of Cranston West’s “Still Life With Iris” were thrilled to find out that they were one of two schools chosen to represent Rhode Island at the New England Drama Festival in April.

The judges had rave reviews for all aspects of the show after the Saturday afternoon performance, from the costumes and set design to the props and the acting. Additionally, the school was awarded a special award above and beyond the annual awards, crediting the entire ensemble for an outstanding job with the one-hour dramatic performance.

Director of the production and West faculty member Nancy Vitulli wrote the following in an email:

“Cranston High School West's production of ‘Still Life With Iris,’ has been selected as one of the productions to represent Rhode Island at the 2018 New England Drama Festival, in Gilford, NH.

At the conclusion of the RI State Drama Festival, special recognition was given to the following senior students for their outstanding service to their theater programs and participation in the festival: Sean Sova received the Terry Murray Award for Theatrical Achievement in Acting, and Elizarose Machado, Samantha Mastrati and Aria Pegg received the Stanley Anderson Award for excellence in Theater Production.

For their work on the ‘Still Life With Iris’ production, special recognition was given to Sean Sova and Megan Mahoney for their physicalization of Grotto and Gretta Good, Sarah Ebirim as the Flower Painter and Will Walmsley as the Memory Mender.

Also, Jeffrey Marchetti received a special award for his outstanding puppet creation. Finally, the entire company received an award that is not given out every year – the Franco Coli Award for ensemble excellence – [which] is reserved for a production that the adjudicators feel goes above and beyond in all areas of theater proficiency.”

Cranston High School West was one of ten schools that performed their piece over the weekend, while also hosting schools from all over Rhode Island for the Friday night and Saturday full day event. The St. Raphael’s Academy drama team will also be representing Rhode Island at the New England Drama Festival in April.

Adjudicators for the event were Laura Goldstein, Claudia Traub, and Deloris Davis Grant, a Rhode Island educator who teaches high school English and drama in Central Falls and is the sister of Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis. Grant was the judge who announced the ultimate winners of the competition on Saturday night.

The Cranston West drama team will travel to New Hampshire at the end of April.

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