The arrival of spring means more than pretty flowers and brighter days on the Saint Raphael Academy campus. To our thespians and their supporters, spring means it’s time for the one-act play and their entry in the Rhode Island Drama Festival.

Saints Drama produced another moving presentation, In the Forests of the Night. A send-off show was held at the Coutu Theater on March 17. They performed again the next day in the Rhode Island Drama Festival at Cranston High School East.

With covid restrictions in the rear-view mirror, high schoolers from around the state enjoyed sharing their craft with each other and the larger audience for the first time since 2019. The winner of the festival represents Rhode Island in the New England Drama Festival, this year in Rockport, Maine on April 20-22.


Eerie drama a good choice for Saints

As the drama club director, Sara Costanzo is responsible for selecting the play. Its success depends on a good storyline and the right students to play the parts. It should play to each individual student’s strengths, she explained. Finally, the whole production needs to run about an hour because there is set up, performance, and breakdown to take into consideration.

This year’s one-act play is In the Forests of the Night, a short drama by Del Martin where “Thirteen students are compelled by their dreams to play a game in the woods to keep a mysterious monster at bay. Not everyone gets to play it again,” according to the play’s description from, an educator and theater resource for drama.

The play is an interesting choice and a suspenseful drama, with a sort of anonymity about it. Characters are referred to by number, and there is no apparent lead role. The six-student forest itself is literally alive and a monster lurks about.

“I think they really enjoyed it because they got to work together throughout the whole show. It was very much a group effort, a lot of ensemble work,” said Mrs. Costanzo.

All in all, 27 students went to the festival, including 22 cast members—many of whom did double-duty as crew (see cast and crew list below). Mrs. Costanzo noted the crew made most of the creative choices of the show, such as the costume design, set design, and promotional poster.

“They were the creative force behind the entire production,” she said.


Finally, a normal year for high school drama

None of the cast or crew had experienced a “normal” Rhode Island Drama Festival before. As with many things, covid changed the way the festival functioned the last few years, suffering one cancelation and two virtual years. School participation was down in those years but is now returned to 2019 levels. The drama festival came back fully in person and open to audiences in 2023.

According to Mrs. Costanzo, the Drama Club thoroughly enjoyed the experience and appreciated the judges’ feedback. They listened to other schools’ judging and gained more advice to apply to their craft. Mrs. Costanzo felt that it was a great experience to have the students around other drama students from other schools.

The directors receive more critical feedback, but “99 percent of it was all really excellent things,” Mrs. Costanzo said. A judging rubric is also provided to highlight areas for improvement. She shares aspects of it with the Drama Club if it is directly about their characters.

The Saint Raphael Academy Drama program is a 24-time winner of the Rhode Island Drama Festival, with its most recent win in 2018 with the tragedy Antigone. While they were not selected to represent the state at the New England competition this year, Saints Drama received a respectable third place and many awards for their performance.

Saint Raphael Academy’s next fine arts performance will be the spring concert on Friday, April 28 at 7 pm.


Congratulations to Saints award winners!

All-State Acting Award

Calista Aguinaldo

Hailey Jackson

All-State Ensemble Award

Michaela Clark, Gianna Gomez, Hannah Guevremont, Anna Lopuchowycz, Mackenzie O’Brien-Pettus, Jeremiah Rocha

Terry Murray Acting Award

John Greenberg

Stanley Anderson Award and Scholarship for Technical Theater

Isabel Hughes



Narrator – Jeremiah Rocha
One – Angelina Deschenes
Two – Emily Panas
Three – Lily Peavey
Four – Sophia Patino
Five – Sylvia Huyler
Six – Andra Costa
Seven – Haley Jackson
Eight – Aaron Gubala
Nine – Isabel Sullivan
Ten – Jennifer Rodriguez
Eleven – Karina Contreras
Twelve – Joshua Greenberg
Thirteen – Calista Aguinaldo
Forest – Michaela Clark, Gianna Gomez, Hannah Guevremont, Anna Lopuchowycz, Mackenzie O’Brien-Pettus, Jeremiah Rocha
Monster – Jennifer Rodriguez

Crew – Calista Agunialdo, Andra Costa, Gianna Gomez, Josh Greenberg, Izzy Hughes, Sylvia Huyler, Valery Magana, Emily Panas, Emma Roderick, Sara Rodrigues, Sophia Teixeira, Selena Tu, Sam Wang, Michaela Clark, Lily Peavy, Hannah Guevremont