Burlington High School students Sydnee Stevens (from left), Katie Beaudette, Addison Thomas, Ellie Pieters, Alyse Zimmerman, Maddie Thompson perform a scene from the school’s production of the one-act play “Anne of Green Gables.”

One-act play ‘Anne of Green Gables’ garners rave reviews

Burlington High School’s production of the one-act play “Anne of Green Gables” recently swept the top awards in state competition hosted by the Wisconsin High School Forensic Association.

Burlington’s production earned the coveted Critics Choice Award. It also garnered three top individual acting awards, outstanding ensemble acting award, outstanding technical theater award, and outstanding direction.

“Our awards are particularly triumphant in what they represent. We did not cut any students from the cast or crew, so it is affirming to know that we can be inclusive and successful at the same time,” teacher and Director Carrie Fidler said. “I am so proud that our ensemble was recognized; it featured many of our youngest players in their first high school roles or first-ever roles, and developed so much over our weeks of rehearsal.  Our crew is entirely student-run; no adult designed anything on the set or lights, or performed any technical role as the show ran.”

Maddie Thompson (who plays Anne) is the only repeat Individual Acting award winner in BHS history after winning for her role in “Mill Girls” last year.  She joins a very elite company statewide, according to Fidler.

Jonathan Morrell (Matthew) began in the booth as an eighth grader – he was attending BHS for part of the day and could thus participate – and was coaxed onstage where he developed into an award-winning actor, according to Fidler.

Julia Torpy (Marilla) has been one of the most generous and versatile members of our company, Fidler said. She has contributed as an actress, lighting engineer, musician, and crew member.


Immersive performance

Fidler said the play was a work in progress right up until the recording of the state performance.

“These kids never, ever settled – either in the performance or technical aspects of the show,” she said. “Until the day we recorded state, we were tweaking and adding small touches.  I believe these seemingly small aspects of performance – a facial expression, an extra beat for a character to think, a bit of set dressing, a tweak to the music, a little bit bigger reaction from the school kids – add up to an immersive performance.”

The state’s oral adjudicator praised the group, calling the show “magic” and “a dream,” according to Fidler.


The award winners

A complete list of the production’s State Theater Festival Awards follows:

Outstanding Individual Acting: Jonathan Morrell as Matthew Cuthbert; Madeline Thompson as Anne Shirley; Julia Torpy as Marilla Cuthbert.

Outstanding Ensemble Acting: Katherine Beaudette, Jacob Busch, Allison Covey, Aubrey Dill, Owen Haase, Ariel Holle, Julian Ivkovich, Tucker LaRose, Natalie Lovrine, Alex Milligan, Jonathan Morrell, Timothy K. Njuguna, Ellie Pieters, Sydnee Stevens, Addison Thomas, Madeline Thompson, Julia Torpy, Kaitlin Vanderloop, Alyse Zimmerman

Outstanding Technical Theatre: Clare Freeburn (Stage Manager), Jonathan Deephouse (Assistant Stage Manager), Sandra Galan (Assistant Stage Manager), Connor Schmaling (Booth Lead), Lane Avila, Charlie Beaudette, Chris Cantrell, Sophia Dutcher, Hunter Henningsen, Nathan Hynes, Nicole Mann, MiKayla Shelton, Amon Shields, Katherine Strojny, Sam Wallace

Outstanding Direction: Carrie Fidler, Robert Thompson, Michelle Morrell, Jessica Smith


      To read the full version of this story see the Dec. 2 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.