RATS takes one act to Garber High’s Lovefest


Members of the cast, senior Angela Goulet, freshman Brigid Lally, sophomore Gabbi Guerra, senior Mike Halsey, junior Katie Derkacz, and senior Audrey Raymond perform at Lovefest. Photo by Kent McCormack

Maggie Roehling

The Rochester Alliance of Theatrical Students(RATS) performed the short, one act play, “Country Gothic” the last weekend of January at the annual Lovefest and on February 3 and 4 at RHS.

“[‘Country Gothic’] is a play about a cult in a place called Foxfire Valley and the residents of Foxfire Valley [where] their main crop is apples,” student director sophomore Jessie Carl said. “They have this book that they live by, and every year they have to send out one of their residents to go and bring back somebody to sacrifice. It’s very dark and twisted.”

The actors and technical crew of RHS took the scary, 19-minute play to Garber High School where they, along with 12 other schools, performed their short drama at a festival called “Lovefest.”  Adviser Mr. Todd Miesch was pleasantly surprised by the turnout.

“Lovefest was awesome,” Mr. Miesch said. “It’s a lot of fun and every time I go up there I always get nervous because I always remember that I’m going to see high schoolers, so my expectations should be low, but every year I go … and my expectations are superseded by what the kids do…it was more than what I expected.”

According to junior Katie Derkacz, who played the role of Sarah Andrews, the play turned out just as the actors had hoped.

“My favorite part about acting as Sarah was how innocent she was supposed to be, she’s just this girl from a valley,” Derkacz said. “I wouldn’t have changed anything [about the play]! It was perfect.”

While “Country Gothic” was a frightening drama, the majority of the plays performed at Lovefest were comedies which created quite a contrast.

“Our play was obviously different. It was one of the shorter plays, and on top of that, it was one of the more gruesome ones,” Mr. Miesch said. “I think the audience at that point was ready for something to not be comical. They were ready for something to be kind of off-the-wall, so it was perfect timing for us.”

Derkacz felt similarly, also commenting on the timing of their performance.

“Our show actually [went over] very well because everyone else was doing comedies, and then we’re just like bam, horror,” Derkacz said.

Luckily, this change of pace worked in the RATS favor. The entire play lead up to a heart-stopping ending that created reactions that differed at Lovefest and RHS but proved equally encouraging.

“The ending was the best thing ever,” Derkacz said. “It’s great, and the audiences’ reactions, well, at Lovefest, everyone was just screaming and crying and it was fabulous and then at Rochester, they were shocked.”

Mr. Miesch had similar thoughts, pointing out the more comical reactions he observed.

“They were screaming, kids were covering their faces, people were laughing because it was just hysterical how real it looked,” Mr. Miesch said.

According to Carl, the final scene which garnered the best response, required the most work.

“The last scene was the hardest to put together, just because everyone was on stage,” Carl said. “People were coming from the audience and everybody was coming together.”

Carl was pleased with the reactions as well, noting that it was exactly what they were hoping for.

“At Lovefest, [the audience] reacted more than I ever could imagine,” Carl said. “It was awesome. Everyone was super loud, and screaming, and squealing.”

“Country Gothic” and the spine-chilling performance at Lovefest will be remembered by those involved and audience members alike.

“I felt it was the best performance they put on,” Mr. Miesch said. “The audience totally fed into it and loved what was going on and how it ended.”