Masqueraders launch double feature of plays Thursday night in Bristol

"W.A.S.P." and "Common Ground" featured through Sunday

By Ted Hayes
Posted 11/21/19

The Masqueraders don’t usually host double features when they stage their fall and spring productions at Mt. Hope High School. But they’re breaking tradition this year, showing two short …

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Masqueraders launch double feature of plays Thursday night in Bristol

"W.A.S.P." and "Common Ground" featured through Sunday

Posted

The Masqueraders don’t usually host double features when they stage their fall and spring productions at Mt. Hope High School. But they’re breaking tradition this year, showing two short plays this coming Thursday through Sunday at the performing arts center on Chestnut Street.

“Common Ground,” directed by Mt. Hope senior Jenna Goulart, and W.A.S.P.,” written by Steve Martin and directed by acting director Nick Mendillo, will play back to back each night at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday.

Though they’re short, Mr. Mendillo said the plays are both fantastic, and really stretch the students’ acting and timing skills. The Masqueraders decided to take on two productions this year in part because they plan on defending their title at the Rhode Island Drama Festival this coming spring, and needed something under one hour to enter.

“So instead of just having one short one with just barely enough students (involved), we decided to do two,” Mr. Mendillo said. “It gives the audience something worth their money, and we get more kids involved.”

Common Ground” showcases the talent of senior Jenna Goulart. In her time at Mt. Hope, she has done a little bit of everything, from acting to production to tech work. Mr. Mendillo started thinking about asking a student to direct one play last year. It didn’t take him long to settle on Jenna, who plans to study theater in college.

“She is one of my best students,” he said. “She is extremely kind, friendly and she’s a hard worker. When I asked her if she would be interested, she lit up. She’s done everything except direct, so I also wanted her to do it so she could have it on her resume.”

“Common Ground” is set in a coffee shop, and explores teenage emotions and philosophies through a series of conversations.

The other production, “W.A.S.P.,” has been on Mr. Mendillo’s radar screen since he saw it performed a few years ago at the New England Drama Festival. A comedy with a darkly absurdist vibe and a message of being true to oneself, the play was a challenge for the students as it demands precise timing.

“The timing is so difficult and comedy is always more difficult than drama,” he said. But “I think we did a fantastic job and the kids were completely on board with the absurdist sense of humor and the message.”

Playtime is 7 p.m. each night except for the 2 p.m. Sunday matinee. Tickets are $5 for students and seniors, and general admission is $10. There will be a 20-minute intermission each night between players during which audience members can buy $10 raffle tickets to win one of eight prizes valued at over $100 each.

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