By Adam Williams
Volume 67, No. 6
Craig Joseph, professor of theatre, will be directing this year’s fall theatre production, Almost, Maine. After restrictions from the pandemic last year, many students are looking forward to this exciting, in-person play. Almost, Maine features several romantic relationships in a small village in the northern United States.
The production will last from Nov. 18 to Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the theater at Founders Hall, with a fourth production on Nov. 21 at 2:30 p.m. The play will be free for Malone students with a $5 fee for Malone staff and a $10 fee for the general public. While the play is free for students, they still must reserve a seat, which can be done at AlmostMaineMalone.evenbrite.com.
The production, which follows multiple residents of a tiny town called Almost, Maine, is a comedy full of shorts involving the characters falling in love as the northern lights hover over their village. The play is a combination of short scenes, each with two characters, who each experience romance in a collection of funny skits.
Every story is different and shows unrelated characters who are magically connected to the northern lights that are over their town.
“You get to see a wide scope of what the town is like,” Alissagrace Raynak, junior digital arts major and actress in Almost, Maine, said. “It’s an interesting perspective on relationships.”
Joseph has taken advantage of the play’s two-person structure. About 1/3 of the students in Almost, Maine have not performed in a theatre production before. According to Joseph, only having two people on stage at a time for a scene lets him pair inexperienced actors with people who have performing experience.
“He’s really worked with me where I am,” Aidan Calderhead, sophomore mathematics major and first-time actor, said. Joseph has been working with students individually during rehearsals so that everyone is ready for opening night. Calderhead, along with many other actors, has voiced his excitement for the production.
“[The actors are] all having a really great time,” Joseph said. “Everyone’s working incredibly hard.”
But while the director, actors, and other students are optimistic about the fall production, COVID-19 is still a problem that the theatre program is navigating. Last year’s play was performed virtually. While Almost, Maine will have an in-person audience, seating is limited because of the pandemic, something that concerns the director.
Because of the person-per-room limit set by COVID-19 restrictions, it’s urgent that those who want a seat at the production secure them as soon as possible.
“We can only seat 69 people in [the theater],” Joseph said.
Because each scene has two people in it, the actors are luckily less likely to be exposed to COVID-19. The structure of the play has been important for keeping the actors safe.
It was also part of the reason that Joseph decided to produce Almost, Maine. Keeping the number of actors on the stage to a minimum in each scene would have made it easier to produce the play virtually if COVID-19 had restricted an in-person performance.
Despite the limitations of the pandemic, the director is excited.
“I’m looking forward to audience members getting back to the theater,” Joseph said. “Getting to come back to the theatre and see something entertaining will probably be very healthy for everybody.”
Previous productions, which came out at the time of the Black Lives Matter riots and COVID-19 quarantines, were much more serious productions than the romantic comedy Almost, Maine.
This year, the Malone theatre is hoping to entertain people in a time where the pandemic is still causing problems for many Americans. Joseph hopes that his production can be something that helps the audience as COVID-19 gets under control. To support Malone theatre by reserving spots or purchasing tickets, visit AlmostMaineMalone.evenbrite.com.