Almost, Maine brings the north to the south

Article Published: Nov. 11, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Almost, Maine brings the north to the south

Seven actors, nine scenes and Aurora Borealis.

It's Almost, Maine by John Cariani, and it's coming to Lees-McRae College just in time for crisp air.

"All the scenes take place at 9 o'clock at night in the middle of February in upstate Maine... out in the middle of nowhere in a town called Almost, Maine," director and theater professor Mike Hannah said.

"They're so far north, they're almost in Canada."

With a set reminiscent of Northeastern snowscapes, you won't need the Banner Elk chill to feel a postcard winter. You'll be able to experience it from the warmth of a theater.

As the scenes change, expect to see the Northern Lights flash across the stage, just one of the details that bring this play from the script to the stage.

Originally cast as four actors, Hannah's interpretation utilizes seven, including four freshmen. The actors must play three different parts through the course of the production, in rehearsal since mid-October.

"It's a romance," Hannah said. "It's about people finding love, realizing it where it wasn't there before or, in some cases, finding that it isn't there when it used to be."

Take a man and a wife skating on a pond.

"They realize during the course of a scene that they don't love each other the way they want to," he said.

And it has its surreal moments, like when a shoe falls on the couple from the sky.

"You just kind of have to go with the flow and if it seems kind of... Twilight Zone-esque, you just kind of go with it," he said.

Like in life, scenes don't always have a happy ending, but should leave you satisfied.

The play was specifically chosen to utilize the talent of a growing class of theater students at Lees-McRae, a school known for its musicals (Into the Woods, Urinetown) but proves with this production they've got more in their bag of tricks than choreography.

"When you have to be three different people in one play, it's a challenge," Hannah said.

And turning a simple set into several different scenes, scenes like a living room, a bar and a pond, is equally challenging. "We needed something pretty adaptable," he said.

And the snowy set serves its purpose, allowing actors to change locales quickly with just a few pieces of furniture.

The scenes are about 15 minutes each, putting the play (including intermission) at just under two hours. It's just one of the productions keeping Lees-McRae students busy this school year.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call the LMC Box Office at (828) 898-8709.

Winter Theater

Almost, Maine by John Cariani, Nov. 18-20 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 21 at 2 p.m.

A Lie of the Mind by Sam Shepard, Feb. 25-26 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 27 at 2 p.m.

Beguiled Again, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart, April 8-9 at 7:30 p.m. and April 10 at 2 p.m.

Student Directed One Acts (performance times and specific shows TBA), April 16-17.

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