A new kind of show

Sasha Kvitsinski, Business Manager

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On May 26-29, the Laguna Beach Artists Theatre will put on the last show of the year, “Almost, Maine.” The play will be smaller and a much more intimate experience for the audience compared to past plays, such as “Stage Door” and “Once Upon a Mattress.”
“It’s essentially considered a romantic comedy, so it’s definitely fun and it’s definitely silly, but on the other hand it deals with some real human experiences around relationships. So there are nine different vignettes, and I think everyone will find one they can identify with,” said drama teacher and co-director Alexis Karol.
The play will consist of nine different scenes, each portraying a different sort of human experience. The audience is sure to be engrossed in the play as those in attendance sit only feet away from the actors.
“I think the audience can expect to be touched because there are these moments that can be personal, but it is also very modern, so I feel like it will actually be very relatable,” said co-director and Laguna Beach High School alumnus Celena Delpizzo-Howell.
The audience is promised a rare and unique experience, since shows like this are not common and are performed at most once a year. The audience can expect to come in and leave with a new outlook on life.
“In the past shows have been done with the audience seated on the stage with the actors, but this year we are trying a different configuration. We are essentially using the apron of the stage and seating the audience down front,” said Karol.
The actors will perform the play in front of the curtain with the audience seated in the first few rows. The goal of such proximity is to create a sort of bond between the audience and actors and really have the audience feel what the characters are feeling.
“There are nine different couples, and all of the scenes take place in the same time and the same town, and it’s in Almost, Maine, which is an imaginary town in northern Maine.They seem to take place at the same time as when the Northern Lights are appearing in the sky. So, each scene has a magical moment, and I think when the audience sees it, they will discover those moments,” said Karol.
All the scenes will have similarities, but each of them tackles a different aspect of human nature, and under the magic of the Northern Lights the actors are able to create something really beautiful.
“I really prefer working in smaller groups, like the way we are doing it, just two people— it’s more intimate; they aren’t distracted and the actors can really dial in. It also connects me more with them as students. I feel like they can let all their worries go because no one is judging them,” said Delpizzo-Howell.
The directors work with the actors on each of the scenes and have rehearsals about once a week, where they break up into small groups and receive individualized feedback.
“It’s been really great. It’s the first time where we’ve done scenes one on one with directors; usually it’s the whole cast there and they call people up individually, but this is individual rehearsal time so it’s also individual feedback,” said senior Cameron Anderson.
The students have enjoyed the experience, and many have grown from it.
“It’s interesting working with only one other person, so you really get to know your group and you are able to learn from each other and grow together,” said sophomore Jaimie Langner.

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