It was a good night for M&D Productions last Saturday at the 10th annual N.H. Theatre Awards at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, N.H. The company took home three awards and placed in the top three in four other categories.
For community theater, M&D’s “Talley’s Folly” won best set designer (Deborah Jasien), best director (Richard Russo) and best actor (Ken Martin as Matt Friedman).
When reading the finalist for best actor, the presenter joked, “Wow, that’s a lot of lines Ken, good for you.” Indeed it was a lot of lines. “Talley’s Folly” is a two-person romantic comedy/drama, in which Martin had the lion’s share of the dialogue. The show opens with Martin delivering a lengthy monologue directly to the audience.
Back in June I wrote this of Martin’s performance: “Challenged with an accent that could potentially sink his whole performance, Martin overcomes this would-be shortcoming and gives a solid performance. He makes Matt awkward, a bit goofy, but completely sincere and lovable.”
Jasien, who consistently does extraordinary work with the limited space at Your Theatre, really outdid herself for “Talley’s Folly.” In my review of the show I wrote: “The boathouse is yet another astounding bit of set design by Deborah Jasien.
The stage is entirely transformed complete with vegetation and flora. The authenticity of the set makes it easy to disappear into this story for 90 minutes.”
The N.H. Theatre Awards aren’t decided by votes, but rather an adjudication process with representatives for each company scoring the other companies. Each show will be scored in various categories by numerous adjudicators. The highest average score is the show that wins the award.
Through this process making it top three is also an honor. “Talley’s Folly” was top three for best actress (Heather Hamilton as Sally Talley), best production, best lighting designer (Mark DeLancey) and best sound designer (Ken Martin).
On the professional side of things, the Mount Washington Valley Theatre Company didn’t take any awards away, but left a mark on the ceremony. The company placed in the top three with “Hairspray” in the categories of best choreographer (Nataniel Shaw), best actress (Amber Coartney as Tracy) and best actor (Richard Sabellico as Edna).
As for the ceremony itself, it was a bloated affair clocking in at four hours. Most of that run time was padded with scenes from some of the shows up for awards. The quality of scenes ranged for shrill so-called comedy with M&M Productions’ “The Good Doctor” to a well performed bad idea with the Majestic Theatre’s “Frankenstein: A New Musical” to joyful, buoyant entertainment with the Peacock Players’ “Dinosaurs: The Musical” and the Community Players of Concord’s “The Drowsy Chaperon.”
Even with the over length of the evening, it is a worthy night that showcases how much amazing theater talent New Hampshire has to offer.