HEIDELBERG, Germany — The audience provided the applause, judges gave critiques and a group of theater professionals offered tips to actors and directors at this weekend’s U.S. Army Europe Festival of One Act Plays.

The combination competition and workshop, held at Heidelberg’s Roadside Theatre Playhouse, gave the more than 175 participants a chance to showcase their work.

The critiques and advice “give us a target, an aim to go for,” said Stephen Simpson, director of the Garmisch Players’ production, “Auto-Erotic Misadventure.”

A few of the participants even got to earn money for their community theater programs. The three best shows received program grants from U.S. Army Europe Entertainment Morale, Welfare and Recreation in amounts of $1,000, $750 and $500 for first, second and third places.

“The Last Five Years,” performed by the Darmstadt Performing Arts Center, took first place.

The transient nature of military communities makes the festival performances fresh each year, as actors from previous years mix with new faces, some of whom are onstage for the first time, said Paul Bourne, a four-time judge at the festival.

“I have talked to people at home about this and … people have no concept that there would be any program like this [at a military base]. They think that soldiers are just off doing things that soldiers do, living in tents and driving around in tanks, whatever their perception is.

“That is so far from the truth.”

The winners ...

The following awards were presented Sunday at the 2003 USAREUR Festival of One Act Plays:

Best show: “The Last Five Years,” Darmstadt Performing Arts Center

2003 Irving Berlin Award for Programming Excellence: The Keller Theatre, 284th Base Support Battalion, Giessen

Best director: Elke Lewis, “Delores,” Ansbach Terrace Playhouse

Best actress: Spc. Rebekah Torberg, “Tuesdays & Sundays,” Bamberg Stable Theatre

Best actor: Barry DeWeese, “The Last Five Years”

Best supporting actress: Melissa Morlock, “Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music,” Kitzingen ACT 1 Community Theatre

Best supporting actor: Phillip Wentz, “Goldilocks & the Three Bears,” Razz-Ma-Tazz Family Theater, Ramstein

Best performance in a minor role: Kimi Fairbanks-Oler, “The Turn of the Screw,” Hanau Five Pfennig Playhouse

Best ensemble: “Bachelor Holiday,” Stuttgart Theatre Center

Best stage manager: “Goldilocks & the Three Bears”

Best monologue performance: Julie Pownall, Giessen

Excellence in musical direction: Hatem Nadim, “The Last Five Years”

Excellence in costuming: “Goldilocks & the Three Bears”

An award for lighting was presented to Timothy Clark for “The Last Five Years”

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