“It’s Love, But Not Quite.” is the tagline for the H.J. Cody Drama Production of “Almost, Maine” begins its 10 show run on Wed., Nov. 21 and runs through Sat., Dec. 1 at the school. I am so proud of the students, teachers, parents and generous community members who have been preparing since September for this charming production set in the fictional town of Almost, Maine. It explores, love, loss, regret, happiness and searching for being found by love.
This show is a very different show to direct than I have experienced before. It has nine separate scenes that are intertwined. They all happen at the same time, on the same day, under the same Northern Lights of Maine. This particular show called for 19 actors, however, the HJ Cody Drama department had more gals audition than I knew what to do with! I wanted to include as many actors as possible so I double cast the show. Several girls share or play more than one role and a few of our gents are playing double roles. We are even lucky enough to be welcoming HJ Cody Alumn Layne Zazalak back to the stage! You may remember him from “Village of Idiots” as Zalman, or Sir Harry from “Once Upon A Mattress”.
The nature of this vignette based script, has made it a really rich directing experience I have been able to work with two or three actors at a time. Usually we are working with 15-20 people at a time, working on choreography, or blocking out where they stand or move and at the same time trying to get them to develop their characters with little or no lines as a chorus or ensemble member of the cast. In this production, each actor has had to really dig into the acting process to find out who their characters are and what motivates them. One of the highlights from our rehearsal process was a Character PotLuck dinner where each student brought a food item that their character would bring and then maintain the character throughout the whole dinner. This and their rehearsal work is paying off in what I am seeing on stage. These kids are working hard to bring their characters to life and they are doing a magnificent job.
Along with our students, we have had huge support from H.J. teacher Sam Mielke as production assistant, Janet Stoesz as our costume mistress, and Jeff and Jodi Moulton who have taken on our set building. We also welcomed several parents and families into the process of our set and props weekend and they have truly made Almost come to life.
It is my hope that you will take a little time for yourselves before the rush of the holidays and come to The Stevenson Performing Centre at H.J. Cody to see Almost, Maine. The show runs Nov. 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30 and Dec.1 at 7 p.m. as well as matinees on Saturday Nov. 24 and Dec. 1 at 1 p.m.
The show has some mature content and is not recommended for children under 12. Tickets are $10.00 and available online on the CESD website for families of H.J. or at the main office and at the door. If you have any questions, you call H.J.Cody at 403-887-2412.