The Little Theater stage will be transformed into a winter wonderland on Nov 9-11 when the Wilton High School drama department presents its fall play, Almost Maine. Even though in the scheme of things it is a relatively new piece, Almost, Maine is currently the most performed play in high schools across the country.
The show follows connections between the residents of a mythical town called “Almost” somewhere in Maine, following the release of the magical powers of the aurora borealis. Director Kevin Slater says the show is about the magic of relationships and that the production is upbeat, laced with an amicable combination of smile-worthy moments and genuine tear-jerkers..
“It’s about interpersonal skills; it’s about how relationships can go really well or really badly. Overall, I would say that the show itself is meant to be a light-hearted comedy, but it’s got a little bit of a poignant edge,” Slater says.
This is the first directing project for Slater, who has been the public speaking teacher at Wilton High School for the last four years. He has enjoyed the intensity of the past two months of rehearsal, and has been enthusiastic about his double casting technique–different actors play the same parts on different nights.
“One of the unique things we’re doing with this show is that we have taken the opportunity to double cast it, which allows us to include more company members, expanding their learning opportunities. For those audience members who choose to see the show more than once, it’s an opportunity to see the same character played in completely different ways and for scenes to be interpreted differently,” Slater explains.
His energy has rubbed off on the rest of the cast. Lydia Hoffman, a senior who plays Daniel’s wife as well as acts as a member of the ensemble, cites her favorite part of the process.
“I like having the opportunity of really diving deep into a particular scene and making it our own. That experience allows us to appreciate every single move that we make and how it can change the course of the scene.”
Senior Liam Defelice, who plays Jimmy, has also enjoyed being in the production.
“My favorite part of the show is the process that we go through of really dissecting the meaning of our characters just discovering for ourselves how we can embody our characters.”
Because of this thorough process and the opportunity to delve wholeheartedly into each character, the show feels sophisticated, even intimate; audience members become witnesses to a carefully crafted world of deeply personal pain and love between people who have been able to build a connection that imitates their character’s intense relationships throughout the rehearsal process.
In addition to double casting, Slater added a dance ensemble as a way to “… create a more interesting way to transition scenes. Choreographer Andrea Metchick has come on board to work with the students to integrate the movement of scenery into music specifically chosen because it relates to the themes of the previous scene.”
Showtimes are Thursday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 10 at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 11 at 5 p.m. and again at 8 p.m.. Tickets can be purchased on the Wilton High School website or at the door.