Adair, Carrigg win Elly awards in regional theater competition |

Adair, Carrigg win Elly awards in regional theater competition

From left, Lois Ewing, who received an Elly nomination for her acting in Gidion's Knot, and Trish Adair, who holds her Elly award for best leading female actor in a drama in the same production, celebrate Sunday after hearing about Adair's award from the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance. Gidion's Knot was produced by Grass Valley-based Quest Theaterworks. Adair was one of two local theater members to win an Elly; the other was Mary Ann Carrigg, who won for best costume design in a comedy for her work in Johnny Danger at Lake Wildwood Theater.
Scott Ewing |

Two Nevada County stage performers won coveted 2015 Elly awards in the regional competition run by Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance, according to an announcement Monday.

Trish Adair, an actress in the Grass Valley-based Quest Theaterworks production of “Gidion’s Knot,” won an Elly for best female lead in a drama.

“We’re really proud of Trish, and we’re really proud of this amazing show,” said Scott Ewing, artistic director of Quest Theaterworks, referring to “Gidion’s Knot.”

The second Nevada County Elly went to MaryAnn Carrigg for best costume design in a comedy for her work in “Johnny Danger” at Lake Wildwood Community Theatre in Penn Valley.

“MaryAnn wrote, directed, produced, was the costume designer, the stage designer and the lead for Lake Wildwood Theater’s “Johnny Danger,” according to the Lake Wildwood Theater Facebook page.

“The show was in full production at the exact same time as the 2014 Cornish Christmas pageant — very proud of MaryAnn!”

Adair and Carrigg were two of 36 people or groups nominated from western Nevada County in the annual competition, which this year had a total of 436 nominations for 90 Elly awards.

Quest Theaterworks received a total of five Elly nominations — four of those for “Gidion’s Knot.” In addition to Adair’s nomination and win, the show, which deals with a painful issue around parent-teacher-child relationships, received three other nominations: John Deaderick for best director, Lois Ewing for best female lead and best overall production of a drama for Quest Theaterworks.

Also from Quest Theaterworks, Judy Blake, who directed the group’s comedy “Calendar Girls,” received an Elly nomination.

For a full list of Elly awards, see

Scott Ewing said “Gidion’s Knot” almost didn’t get performed; the group was turned down when it tried to obtain the performance rights to the script after Deaderick saw it printed in its entirety in American Theatre Magazine.

The reason they were declined was that “a regional premiere was slated for San Francisco and the agency didn’t want little Nevada County doing it first,” Ewing said.

“So an agreement was made with the agent that Quest Theaterworks could do the piece as long as it wasn’t advertised, the audience was no more than 40 people, and there were no reviews or blogs about it,” Ewing said. “Quest Theaterworks paired the piece with another one-act play, ‘Thom Pain Based on Nothing,’ called the evening ‘The MEADE Affair’ — an anachronism for the people involved — and had an invited audience.

The company then took the show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest theater festival in the world, where “Gidion’s Knot” was one of over 3,000 titles performed over three weeks in August 2014, Ewing said.

“Upon its return, the company performed the piece at the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools conference room,” he said.

The play, by Johnna Adams, deals with 11-year-old Gidion, who is suspended from school on a Friday.

What happens next is a “horror that needs to come out in the experience of it,” said Ewing, noting that the content and plot were not advertised in advance.

Ultimately, the piece raises the question of blame for Gidion’s subsequent suicide — was it the school’s fault for suspending him, or the mother’s fault for raising him a certain way?

“We were fortunate to have done a performance for a group of teachers and students, thereby having an effect on how we hold our kids when in school in Nevada County,” Ewing said.

The 2015 Elly awards included participation from 76 theaters and 240 total productions.

To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email or call 530-477-4219.

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