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9 short love stories told in Placer High play

‘Almost, Maine’ opens tomorrow night
By: Julie Miller, Design and Content Manager
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‘Almost, Maine’

  • By: Placer High School Drama Department
  • When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9 and 16; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10 and 17  
  • Placer High Auditorium, 275 Orange St., Auburn
  • Tickets: $10 general; $7 students
  • Info:  placerdrama.org
 

Placer High’s latest drama production is about a small town far east of Auburn. “Almost, Maine” has nine different love stories that take place in a New England hamlet.

“Some are in the beginning of the relationship, and some are at the end,” said Jason Long, drama teacher at Placer High. “It’s kind of a bitter-sweet comedy mixed with ‘Twilight Zone.’”

Each of the nine vignettes are about 10 minutes long and end with the actors gazing at the northern lights.

With different characters for the shorts, there are no leading roles or supporting actors. It’s an even playing field.

This is also one of the reasons why Long chose this script for the fall play.

“I knew it would work well with this particular group of actors. They feel like they are all a part of the same world,” he said. “I felt it would give equally sized parts.”

Long also described the play as “honest” and said it fits his students well.

“It deals with all of the things people can relate to,” said Jenny Stenger, 11th grader, who plays the character Sandrine, “with people falling in and out of love.”

One of the loved is Pete, who is played by sophomore Alex Haddad.

“He’s an odd guy. He has a great heart,” said Haddad about his character’s endearing qualities.

Freshman Carmen Orgain plays Geanette who confesses her love to odd Pete. She admires the personality of the role because of “her innocence as a character.”

Parts of the script sometimes take idioms and turn them into an on-stage manifestation. For instance, there is one scene where two people are falling love, and they start to fall on the stage and can’t stand up. Another character carries her broken heart around in a paper bag and is reluctant to let it go.

“Each of the scenes have sometimes funny, sometimes silly and sometimes a magical experience,” Long said.

There are 19 actors and six on the set crew. Long said the sets are simple with a backdrop of trees covered in snow and lighting effects to portray the aurora borealis.

The class has been learning the play and rehearsing since school started in August and the first showing is tomorrow night.

According to a web search, “Almost, Maine” was performed in off-Broadway theater from 2004 through 2006. It was the most popular play to be produced by high schools on the continent this year and last, more so than “A Midsummers Night’s Dream.”