By Anna Calkins, Staff Writer
In preparation for the new play Twelfth Night, here is a review of Payton Players’ last performance. Make sure to buy your tickets as soon as possible for this week’s shows!
The Payton Players theater company prepared and performed John Cariani’s Play “Almost, Maine” this fall.
An aerial view of the set of “Almost, Maine”
“Almost, Maine” was put on this fall by Payton Players, the school’s theater company. I can’t possibly give the play anything less than 5 stars. Read on to hear why!
In early November, I became curious about all the “Almost, Maine” enrichments I saw on Selenium. I wasn’t familiar with the title, so, of course, I looked it up. To summarize, “Almost, Maine” is a play made up of nine short plays that explore love, loss, and everything in between. These scenes are all set in a not-quite official town called Almost, as far north as one can travel.
To say the least, I was skeptical. I asked myself, how was a high school theater production going to pull off nine different plays about love and loss? How would they all be approached and represented? After all, these are difficult concepts to explore and cover.
I saw “Almost, Maine” on its closing night, December 11th, and the play absolutely blew me away. The cast did an incredible job in their roles, and those in the audience laughed, awwed, and gasped our way through the entire play. The set design was excellent, including the unique props – I am still in disbelief from the boot that fell from the apparent sky. I especially appreciated the costumes in the Rhonda and Dave scene (and also the dedication of the actors as they stripped off maybe a dozen layers). The parallelism between two falling scenes, in which actors quite literally fell for each other, made me laugh harder the second time instead of feeling like I’d seen it before, thanks to the actors’ skill.
Afterward, the people I attended the play with asked which segment was my favorite. I was stumped, split between all nine. Every single part of the play had something special about it, be it a line or action that made me want to choose it as my favorite. From the scenes that pulled on heartstrings to the ones that made my shoulders shake with laughter, every one was special and very well done.
Reflecting back on it, I have no idea why I was skeptical of how Payton Players would pull off this show. They navigated a variety of types of love stories, from happy endings to cliffhangers, with remarkable skill. Additionally, they performed with masks on, which I imagine added an additional challenge. They handled it gracefully, though.
I would gladly have watched the play twice, thrice, or even four times over. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I offer the highest of praise to the cast, crew, and entire company for the impressive work and skill that they put into the performance! For those who missed “Almost, Maine”, or those who went and want more, the spring play, “Twelfth Night” by Shakespeare, will be out on March 23rd.