Brookline teen debuts in 1-act play festival

MILFORD – Writers and stage crew are gearing up for their upcoming performances of the Riverbend School of Theatre Arts One Act Playwriting Festival.

The student playwrights are Devon Labonte, 16, a sophomore at Alvirne High School in Hudson who will direct “Just Wait;” Renee Reeves of Merrimack, a 17-year-old home-schooled student will direct “A Ghra;” and Sarah Gill, 16, of Gilford, will direct “The Wednesday Man.”

Elizabeth Elkin, 16, a sophomore at Hollis Brookline High School, makes her debut performance in the One Act Playwriting Festival as Noamh in “A Ghra.”

She said she has enjoyed working with the cast. Her role is the most dramatic one she has played so far and she looks forward to the performances. She said her character is unique.

“A lot of what she does isn’t verbal, so playing her is more than just saying lines. I’ve had to learn to show rather than tell,” Elkin said.

Reeves, of Merrimack, playwright and director of “A Ghra,” has enjoyed her first directing experience with the One Act Playwriting Festival.

“This has been an entirely new experience from the beginning. I’d never watched auditions before, never cast a play, never hosted a read-through, and never done music direction,” Reeves said. “The cast has been energetic and creative, though, and Toby and Lucas have been dependable support.”

Reeves researched St. Bridget’s Complaint which is said to be a tradition dating to 5th century Ireland. The idea behind St. Bridget’s Complaint is a day during leap year when St. Patrick gives women permission to propose to men.

“A Ghra” stars Lily Ayotte, Elizabeth Long, Max Barnaby, Elizabeth Elkin, Haley Brannelly, Connor McDonald and Matt Campbell.

LaBonte said her play “Just Wait” ties in well with the setting and she has been impressed by the progress of her production.

“So far we’ve gone through the play quite a few times, but we are at the point that we need to focus on the little details and humor of the play,“ she said.

“Just Wait” stars Jonathan Edelblut, Emma Ayotte, Kat Feraco and Jessica Harper.

Gill is new to the Riverbend School of Theatre Arts One Act Playwriting Festival and will hold this experience close to her for a long time. Her play “The Wednesday Man” is a fictional piece that was inspired by her fascination with the job of every English teacher she has ever had. A character that stands out to her is D.B., who is played by Alec Paulson, of Hollis. This character is constantly challenging the main character played by Lucas Nevrla, of Amherst. The Wednesday Man stars Nevrla, Paulson and John Sheridan.

The seventh annual Riverbend School of Theatre Arts One Act Playwriting Festival performances take place at the Amato Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m., Jan. 27 and 28. Tickets are $5 at the door.