“Flying” into Competition Mode


Grace Tucceri

The villainous Jack, played by FHS Senior Ethan Pflomm, leads his camp on a pig hunt in “Lord of the Flies”.

What’s the buzz?

Festival, of course!

On March 4th, it’s officially game time for the Franklin High School Theater Company as they participate in the preliminary round of the Massachusetts High School Drama Festival, commonly referred to as “Festival” by the performers. Over 100 different high schools from across the state present their own play in hopes of moving onto the semifinal round.

The catch? The play cannot run for more than 40 minutes. 

Last year, the FHSTC presented Cave Dream for the competition, which follows five spelunkers trapped in a cave alongside ten mysterious rock creatures. The group’s performance wowed judges and propelled them forward in the competition. Although COVID-19 changed the structure by eliminating a final round, the judges did name 14 out of the 93 performances as state finalists, with Franklin as one of them.

This year; however, the stakes are higher than ever before, following such a successful run last season. Plus, the actors will not find themselves enclosed in a cave, but rather stranded on an island

“I was so excited when [our director, Mr. Grossman,] announced we were doing Lord of the Flies because it’s actually part of the 9th grade English curriculum and it’s literally my favorite book I’ve ever read in an English class!” FHS Junior Brandi Dumas exclaimed.

Brandi, having starred as Sophie in Mamma Mia! and evil stepsister, Charlotte, in last fall’s production of Cinderella, additionally expressed her excitement over scoring the lead role of Ralph

“I’ve always wanted to play a guy,” she adds. “And while we made Ralph a girl instead of making me a guy, I still get to have that sort of ‘tomboy’ vibe and there’s a lot of things about it that I’m excited about.”

I’ve always wanted to play a guy. And while we made Ralph a girl instead of making me a guy, I still get to have that sort of ‘tomboy’ vibe and there’s a lot of things about it that I’m excited about.

— Brandi Dumas (Ralph)

As for the show’s antagonist, Jack, that would be Franklin Football standout wide-receiver, Ethan Pflomm

“He really provides a divide in the group and he kind of turns things up by offering a different point of view to the main group,” the recent Worcester State University commit notes. “He goes to a dark place and listens to his subconscious and lets everything out, so I guess that’s cool to play!

The show provides plenty of opportunities for all students to shine on stage, even as a background player. Sophomore Alex Alvarado commented on the fascinating role of the ensemble in the play.

“It’s very different from other shows… you’re very much picking sides at first, the ensemble gets to create the whole entire background and play all these other feral kids in the group. You get to show in your own way that you go from this stable little kid to that madness in a way that wasn’t originally written, so you get a lot more creativity with it.”

Senior Kayla Durkin, another ensemble member, shared her thoughts about participating in the ensemble for Festival one last time. 

“I’m so happy we’re doing this play because I started with Six Rounds of Vengeance where I was killed… twice! So this time around, I actually get to wield something and was very happy about that.”

Time does fly by when you’re a performer, especially when it’s getting down to the wire. Just over a month remains before Franklin hosts seven other schools for the prelims (ten additional preliminary rounds occur as well at different location). Only half move on, so the actors must be fully invested in their characters, even if they’re playing a swine like Virginia Bernstein.

Mr. Grossman, the director and head of the FHSTC, provides Brandi Dumas with some notes before rehearsing one of her most pivotal scenes. (Grace Tucceri)

I’m the pig! The beast! I did have to do some research on how island pigs move. One half of their body goes and the other follows. It’s not front to back, it’s side and side. It’s definitely a leg workout. It feels like leg day every day. We’ll build up that strength and it’s really fun to not play a human and embody the animal instead of a role that an actor would usually play.”

No matter how the competition plays out, the FHSTC for sure will deliver a memorable performance and put their best foot (or hoof) forward!