Spelunkers Strike Silver: FHS Theater Company Wins Regionals

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Olivia Baker, Writer

Trapped inside of an invisible barrier with mysterious rock creatures, five spelunkers must find a way to escape. This isn’t a dream you can wake up from.   

The FHS theater company’s (FHSTC) production of Cave Dream was selected to go to regionals by the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild (METG) and won. A play originally written by Alan Haehnel takes place in a cave deep underground where five spelunkers get trapped within an invisible barrier. These spelunkers are not alone however, down there with them are mysterious rock creatures who tell the spelunkers the only way to escape is to: “Speak one absolute truth!”

Regionals is a new round of the METG Festival this year. Here is how Stage Manager Caelyn Towne (Junior) explains the new system.

“Because of COVID-19, many schools in the state were not able to begin rehearsing as soon as they would under normal circumstances, so the preliminary round was pushed back two weeks (to when the semi-final round would have taken place). Instead of pushing semis and finals back as well, the METG decided to combine and rebrand them as regionals on the weekend that finals would have taken place (April 2nd),” Towne adds.

FHS was one of the main host sites, so the FHSTC were able to perform on their home turf during both preliminaries and regionals. 

Technically sound, functional, and quick, the preliminary performance competed against 80 other schools. Out of 13 host sites, three performances from each were selected to move on to regionals. A requirement of the performance was that it had to have a runtime under 40 minutes. According to Spelunker Mackenzie Atwood (Senior), the timing was the most difficult part. 

“It was definitely difficult because we had to time out the production. We had been practicing without timing it and then we realized we had to get this under 40 minutes,” Atwood says. 

If the performance goes over 40 minutes, the company is disqualified. Not only this but the setup and takedown of the set is also timed.

“It’s difficult to make sure we’re running under 40 minutes without rushing through the moments of the show, especially for Cave Dream where actors have no way of telling what the run time is until after they’ve finished performing,” Towne says.

A production of grit, determination, and intense pressure, the FHSTC decided to put their own unique twists to this production. This along with the determination of the entire company, a talented technical crew, and creative costume designers, are why both Towne and Atwood believed they were able to move on. 

Atwood comments on how amazing the set was and how the rock creatures were designed to blend into it.

“It added another level of professionalism to our show. The lighting and sound was amazing. Then combining it with the acting and excellence of our storytelling, it’s ultimately why I think we were able to move on,” Atwood says. 

Mr. Grossman, director of the FHSTC and the theater teacher at FHS, encourages his students to do their very best. He is able to bring the best out of everyone and make an impact on those around him. 

Something Mr. Grossman always says is that this show is bigger than any of us — it’s bigger than himself as our director, bigger than any actor, and bigger than any technician or crew member. Our undertaking of this production has been a feat, and provided difficulties for everyone. but our understanding of its value drives us to overcome those difficulties,” Towne says. 

Congratulations to the FHSTC on being one of the 14 regional winners!