Crescent Players perform production of “Almost, Maine”
Max Bickley – General Assignment Reporter
When a person considers what love is, there might be as many understandings and definitions as there are stars that light the sky. In this play, performed by the members of the Crescent Players, “Almost, Maine” tells nine different stories of people from Almost, Maine, a fictional territory far north in the state.
In short, the play is eight different scenes, excluding a prologue, interlogue and epilogue, set in Almost and each vignette deals with love in one manner or another. There are also some overlaps with characters in one scene referencing to other characters from the play. Essentially, each character knows one another.
One thing the play does best is show love in all its forms and varieties using metaphors. By the same token, what it does is show how love can be lost or forgotten by many.
A scene which exemplifies both is the opening and closing scene of the play. Two young people sit next to each other on the bench and say how much they love the other, then the girl of the couple leaves the man alone for the remaining duration of the play until the very end when they meet again.
“I didn’t expect it to be so emotional, and there were points where I was shocked and laughing like mad,” said Taciana Morrisseau, an audience member. “I really enjoyed the play, and had a good time watching it, though there were some points that it was just heartbreaking.”
The stage itself, in the Kendall Drama Lab, was relegated to a small circular outline on the stage with a bench, about 10 or 15 feet in diameter. Such a small stage led the play to be performed in the round, every scene transitioned perspective and position. This was very clever at times because with the lighting on one side, the audience could see the characters fully, but on the other the audience could only see their backs or a silhouette.
Cast member Kevin Redline found the play itself had more to it than just simple stories about love.
“The show is really cute,” said Redline. “But there is also a lot of interesting symbolism in it that was fun to work with.”
In regards to the setup of the stage, with the set pieces moving around the circle for every different scene, Redline found that not only did it provide a new challenge for the players, but also the mechanics used during the show worked well.
“Normally the play is not done in the round method,” said Redline. “So that provided an interesting dynamic for the cast and crew members to work around. In one scene when the shoe drops, we used the same kind of cloth mechanism that won an award for Godspell.”
The actors all did an excellent job with their performance. There were often scenes with the same actors as previous ones, but there was never a moment where their characters got confused. Every character was unique from the other. Throughout the play there was an original soundtrack which played at certain points, giving an uplifting, comical or sometimes melancholy mood.
“The music was originally composed by Mike Skinner, who was once an undergrad at SCSU,” according to Redline, “He wound up going to Yale for sound designing.”
Overall, as a closer to the first half of the theatre season, the Crescent Players in association with the SCSU Theater department had the audience laughing, crying and cheering all the way.
Photo Credit: Isabel Chenoweth
HEADER PHOTO: Olivia Cintron (left) and Shawn Allen (right).