Michael Standley (left) received the award for “Most Promising Newcomer” for his role as Thomas in “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You” at the One Acts Festival in Qualicum Beach. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Portal Players win Best Play at One Acts Festival

Alberni theatre company took home three awards at Qualicum Beach Festival

Port Alberni’s Portal Players took home three awards at the 13th annual One Acts Festival in Qualicum Beach, including Best Play.

After a successful run in Port Alberni, Portal Players took their two one-act plays by Christopher Durang, “The Actor’s Nightmare” and “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You,” to the One Acts Festival on Friday, Nov. 3.

The Portal Players were well-recognized at the awards ceremony, receiving honourable mentions for Best Ensemble for “The Actor’s Nightmare,” and Best Female Lead Actor for Andrea Markiewicz’s performance as Sister Mary.

At the end of the evening, Portal Players took home three awards: Most Promising Newcomer to Michael Standley for his role as Thomas in “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You,” Best Supporting Female Actor to Cindy Solda for her role as Sarah Siddons in “The Actor’s Nightmare,” and Best Play for “The Actor’s Nightmare.”

“The Actor’s Nightmare” is about a man who suddenly finds himself on stage without knowing any of his lines or even which play he is performing. Actor Elliot Drew convincingly played the challenging lead role with talent, enthusiasm and comedic flair. Without his strong performance, the play would have suffered greatly. Teresa Drew’s strong leadership as stage manager also helped to ensure that every performance of the run was the best it could possibly be.

Both plays were very well received by the Qualicum audience, who found them to be highly entertaining and thought-provoking.

“It was the most entertaining night of the festival,” one audience member said. “My husband and I were still laughing and talking about it the next morning.”

The One Acts Festival is a juried festival, and the two adjudicators, Robb Mowbray and Nicola Cavendish, said they found it very difficult to select award winners from the spectacular array of talent and high calibre productions.

For director Belinda Williams, this was her first foray into directing. In a press release, she said she could not be more proud of her cast and crew for their hard work and dedication. Bringing the two plays to the stage was a long process of rehearsing through the hot summer. The actors, designers, and crew put a great deal of time and effort into ensuring that the sets, lights, costumes, and sound were all of professional calibre.

Winning the Best Play award recognizes the work of the cast and crew as a whole. There were 21 people involved in bringing these shows to the stage, and the award acknowledges them all.

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“The Actor’s Nightmare” took home “Best Play” at the One Acts Festival in Qualicum Beach. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

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