By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, COKATO, MN The cast of the recently performed community theatre, “The Romancers,” is gearing up to perform at the upcoming Minnesota Association of Community Theatre competition, taking place this weekend at the Dassel-Cokato Performing Arts Center.
Dassel-Cokato Community Theatre is hosting the biennial festival featuring nine other theatre companies from across the state.
“The Romancers,” which recently performed at the Dassel History Center, will take the stage Saturday, March 21 at 7 p.m.
What is MACTFest?
MACTFest, as it’s referred to, is similar to high school and college theatre festivals, such as one-act competitions. The competition, however, was developed by the American Association of Community Theatre and is on the international level.
Theatre companies that receive Best in Show advance to region competition, where the Best of Show moves on to compete on the national level, for a chance to advance to the international festival.
Four years ago, DC Community Theatre entered “Toys for Men” into the state competition in Fergus Falls, where it placed second.
With an old truck as part of the set, the actors and crew had 10 minutes to set up; one of the rules of the competition. The truck, seeming to have a life of its own, won Best Actor Without DNA, an award the judges made just for this particular show, according to Deborah Moen, director on the MACT state board. With this, the show went on to represent Minnesota at the regional festival in Salina, KS.
Two years later, Dassel-Cokato Community Theatre swept the festival at North Hennepin College with “The Diviners,” winning a number of awards including Best of Festival. Other awards included Best Director (David Metcalf), Best Actor (Tom Langemo), Best Actress (Alison Basney), Best Set Design, and Best Costumes. “The Diviners” went on to represent the state in Fargo, ND.
When it came time to apply for the location for the 2015 MACTFest, Moen decided to put her hat in the ring.
Though Moen wasn’t highly optimistic that DC would even have a shot at hosting, it came down to a MACT board vote between DC and Rochester. “I knew we wouldn’t get it,” Moen said, noting there isn’t hotel accommodations in the immediate area, and therefore, it didn’t hold a candle to the southern metropolis. To her shock, “they voted for us,” Moen said, noting the board likes to support out-state participants, as well.
After only being involved for two cycles, director David Metcalf said, “We’re very honored to be selected to host.”
He is also looking forward to sharing the “great” facility DC High School has in its performing arts center with some of the state’s top community theatres.
MACTFest 2015 begins Friday, March 20, with both performances and workshops for performers and directors at the Dassel-Cokato Performing Arts Center.
“This is a real opportunity for Dassel-Cokato to show their support of theatre and to see a variety of community theatres from all over the state,” Moen said.
Up to 12 theatres can participate in the festival. This year, 10 have registered.
Performance sessions will take place Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21, at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. See sidebar for schedule.
The cost of the festival is $15 per session (up to three plays); $10 for students.
Workshop tickets for one class are $5 for students and $10 for adults; two classes: $15 for adults and $10 for students.
A local committee has been formed to coordinate the volunteer effort that will be needed over MACTFest, including parking, greeting, and concessions.
Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact Moen at (612) 236-5137.