Esterhazy High School achieves Best Overall at Provincial Drama Festival

May 18, 2023, 2:36 pm
Shayna Zubko

The Esterhazy High School Drama Program received awards for Best Technical Crew and Best Overall Production as well as two acting awards.

The Esterhazy High School Drama program directed by Ms. Jeannine LeSann won the Best Overall Production Award at the SDA Provincial Drama Festival held at the University of Regina on the weekend of May 6.

Their play “Scapino!”—a comedy by Frank Dunlop and Jim Dale, adapted by Noyce Burleson—was chosen as one of the rare plays which was written with an abundance of strong male lead characters.

Director Jeannine LeSann says that she chose the play because it highlighted the male performers in Esterhazy High School’s drama program. “A play with six male lead characters is not typical,” says LeSann.

In addition, the drama program had also performed, “Bus Stop,” a drama which focused on strong female characters. The combination created a balance for the drama club and it was a nice difference when hosting their own evening of drama at the school.

At Region 4 Drama Festival, held at Sacred Heart High School in Yorkton, EHS took three plays. “Scapino!” was awarded best overall performance which allowed them to attend provincials in Regina.

In addition to the best overall performance, two acting awards were handed out to actors in the play. A Top 10 Acting Award went to Ian Michasiw Diaz for his role as Argante, and the other, the Top Acting Award, went to Brody Giroux for his role as Scapino.

At Region 4 Festival they received excellent feedback and adjudication which allowed them to incorporate the feedback into their show before heading to provincials.

“The students wanted to improve and do even better at provincials,” says LeSann.

Twelve plays attended provincials from across Saskatchewan. The “Scapino!” crew performed really well, as they “rose to the occasion and pulled out all the stops” despite some hiccups. Two characters during the play left the stage (and auditorium) in order to then arrive from the crowd for the next portion of the play, only to be locked out and had to run and find a security guard from the university to let them back in on time to meet their cue. Despite these hiccups the students gave a really powerful performance.

The performance proved worthy of a number of impressive accolades. Out of five acting awards, two were taken home by EHS students Brody Giroux for Scapino and Ethan Wiechert as Sylvestro. Maddy Bernath received an award for Best Stage Manager and she also received the Debbie Baker Cheer Award, without whom the drama club would not be the same.

Awards were also received for set design (Jolene Chopping), costumes (Winter Olesen), assistant stage managing (Marissa Smith) and lighting (Taylor Zemlak).

“One thing of note for our performance is that everyone focuses on the front show. But there is a whole other world happening behind the scenes.

“There is another show behind the show. Our students were amazing at their timing, were detail-oriented and practiced. We have won best technical crew for the second year in a row for a reason,” says LeSann.

Most notable of course are the awards for Best Technical Crew and Best Overall Production. Director LeSann says, “It was surprising—there were a couple of really great plays that were strong competition.”

In addition, she talks about how it has taken time and a lot of effort and training to build a program. “I worked to build the program from scratch, and have been building it for nine years, minus the two years of Covid. But in nine years this will be our third time at provincials. To achieve the top honour in the province—I’m grateful,” she says.