Students Stage Sit-in on Stage
The cast of Almost, Maine! sat down to get to know each other better, but not as students. Rather, it was as the characters they play in the upcoming Overlake Theatre fall production.
Director Bill Johns’ assignment purpose was for actors to develop their own role, and share it with the cast so they have a sense of knowing each other’s parts. “All these characters are interconnected in this small town,” says Johns. “The more we know each other’s characters, the more the audience will be drawn into the show.”
Students sat in a circle and shared each character’s backstory. Johns’ encouraged the actors to explore and create stories that aren’t in the script, and he thinks that freedom for the actors invests them in their role. He adds that its similar to life on our campus as students may recognize each other, but may not know who that person.
Almost, Maine! is the story of nine couples who fall in and out of love. For Johns’, the play is a departure from many Overlake productions. “This play is a lot about stillness. It’s not a musical or full of special effects,” says Johns. “It’s about relationships, and the actors on stage have to be realistic, heartfelt, and honest.”
After the cast shared their stories, the director led the cast through an exercise in a day in the life. Using the entire stage, the characters went through a series of events from sunrise to bedtime. While it’s not even in the script, Johns knows that it’s a valuable lesson for the cast. “That detail, that honesty, and that vulnerability that they’re creating will be a beautiful mosaic of these characters living in this small town.”
Almost, Maine! public performances are on Friday evening, December 1 at 7:30 and Sunday, December 3 with 2:30 and 7:30 showtimes.