“We want the audience to feel like they are a part of the experience. The play is written to give the feeling of living in this town,” said Director Seth Decker, of the second play of the school year, Almost, Maine.
After the success of the Metamorphosis performance in the fall, the theatre department once again moved to the great wilderness of the Dell for this play. Instead of being in a nice, warm indoor theatre, the cast of Almost, Maine had to face the challenges of performing in thirty-degree weather on a windy Friday night. But in a way, that worked out great for this particular play.
Senior Ashley Marshall gave me some insight into how being outside in these cold temperatures affected their performance. “The play takes place in Northern Maine, which is perfect, because it's cold outside right now,” she said. “So, our costumes are designed for winter-y and ski weather. Some characters are just coming back from riding on a snowmobile, some have just finished ice skating, and some are just hanging out at home, but the costumes are really heavy jackets, gloves, scarves, and boots.”
What sets this play apart from many Lovett has done in the past, is how it is truly meant to feel real. As the Director, Mr. Decker puts it, “It's a romantic comedy, but it's about real people.” Everything in the play could have easily happened in real life, which definitely differs from Metamorphosis where the main character turns into a bug. The most unrealistic thing that happens in the play is how the northern lights cause strange things to happen, like a shoe falling from the sky, or two people falling in love who aren’t supposed to. Other than that though, the interactions between everyone are as realistic as can be.
Ashley agreed that it is indeed a very realistic play. “My favorite part of it is how honest it is. It doesn’t glorify love, it's about the realities of life and how it's a messy thing.”
The play consisted of nine individual scenes, each about a different set of two people. And although characters from past scenes rarely returned to a later scene, there were multiple times when characters from past scenes were mentioned by new characters, which showed how connected everyone’s stories were.
Sophomore Grace Schneider played a character named Marvalin. “It's a funny scene and it's different from the other scenes,” she said. “I'm in a laundry room and I meet this character that is unable to feel pain. Throughout the scene, I have to teach them what it’s like to feel pain. At the end, we realize that we are more similar than we had originally thought.” In the scene, the other character in the scene, Stevie, is played by senior Sarah Piña.
Ashley played a character named Rhonda. Over the course of her scene, Rhonda struggles to see that her friend Dave loves her, while simultaneously being unable to see what Dave painted in the abstract painting he created for her. It isn’t until Dave helps Rhonda see his love for her that she is able to understand the painting as well.
I spoke to Mr. Decker about some of the added challenges that came with putting together this performance during a pandemic. He told me that there were plenty. On top of having to perform outdoors, he mentioned that the cast had to rehearse in masks, which was a struggle for volume and diction purposes.
“The second challenge was people quarantining. Many actors have had to go into quarantine, so we’ve had to bring people in,” he said. Lastly, Mr. Decker told me about the most difficult part: kissing. Although many of the scenes were originally intended to include unexpected kisses, that was a big no during covid. Mr. Decker told me that “We’ve had to figure out other ways for people to show affection, since the kisses were supposed to be central points in the scenes.”
Despite the many challenges presented to the cast and crew by the pandemic, they put on a great show. And with the unpredictable nature of the pandemic, they have shown that no matter what happens in the future, they will be able to do what they love and stay safe.