Putting their own spin on playwright John Cariani’s “Almost, Maine,” Jefferson City High School students will bring love, loss and laughter to the stage Feb. 2-3 at Miller Performing Arts Center.
The cast will perform 11 short plays depicting the lives within a fictional town called Almost, Maine.
“Every scene is different. It has opportunities for kids to be cast in an ensemble and I really like ensemble pieces for the winter because then there’s not a star or a lead. It gives everybody the same opportunity to have the same amount of roles, lines and stage time,” director Zachary McKinney said.
The scenes are all slightly connected with the theme of love and relationships.
“It’s perfect to go with Valentine’s Day because it’s love stories,” McKinney said. “It has a good ambiance about it, people are going to come in and they’re going to enjoy it just for the simple fact that’s it’s the time of the season,” he added.
Students also had a part in creating the sets for their part in the play.
“I’m giving them a little bit more opportunity to do more with building props and pieces,” McKinney said.
A large cabin was built for the set, but students were in charge of painting the exterior along with with constructing the sets overall design.
This will be Zachary McKinney’s second time directing this play, but the first time it will be performed with a Jefferson City High School cast.
“I’m just really proud of these kids. They’ve done a great job, this is one of my favorite shows, set and cast, and it’s been a good experience overall,” he added.
The show will also include a dramatic ending that McKinney has always wanted for the show.
“I’m really looking forward to the last scene because we got music underscoring, we have actors pantomiming through big emotions and characters. … I said, ‘OK, I’m going to play a romantic song, I’m going to have them dance and then I’m going to have it snow,” McKinney said. “The first time I directed this I really wanted it to snow on stage and luckily Dancers’ Alley let us borrow their snow cradle so we are going to officially let it snow on stage in the very last scene.”
Tickets are $7 for general admission, $5 for students and free for children ages four and below. They can be purchased in advance through midmotix.com and will also be available at the door before each showing, which are at noon and 7 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.
“It’s a good time to be going to the theater and seeing the shows, so I’m wanting everyone to come see so that they can enjoy what we got,” McKinney said.