You CAN get there from here: Morristown High Theatre takes you to ‘Almost, Maine’

Victoria Fanning and Topher Bashant in 'Almost, Maine,' at MHS, November 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Victoria Fanning and Topher Bashant in 'Almost, Maine,' at MHS, November 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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By Nicholas Voltaggio

Professional-quality theatrical performances have become really expensive–to the point where many families opt for lower-cost entertainment.

But Morristown High School, with its expansive and diverse student population, has once again meticulously prepared and successfully executed a Broadway-caliber play at a price anyone can afford.

Almost, Maine is a quirky and charming show that investigates nine separate instances of unconventional love, in an almost-town in the middle of nowhere.

The structure allows a viewer to ponder the future of each romantic pairing. Before a starry backdrop, lit by the Aurora Borealis, the performers elevate one-on-one conversations into rollercoaster emotional scenes as characters of all ages, backgrounds, and sexual orientations fall in and out of love.

Cheyanne Findley and Colin McAllister in 'Almost, Maine,' at MHS, November 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Cheyanne Findley and Colin McAllister in ‘Almost, Maine,’ at MHS, November 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

After the show, I spoke with performer and MHS Senior Victoria Fanning, who described the story as having “a real-ness and beauty that audiences will really love.”

Through all the plot’s turmoil, she said, the play conveys messages that are “magical, impactful, and hopeful.”

The lighting and scenery transport viewers into a community so small and tightly-knit, the inhabitants never even bothered to classify it as a town. The use of props and effects are exciting and well coordinated, with a few surprises.

The set came together  thanks to “a lot of love and sweat” by the show’s crew members, Fanning said.

Slideshow photos by Grace Prachthauser:

'Almost, Maine,' at Morristown High School, November 2017. Photo by Grace Prachthauser
'Almost, Maine,' at Morristown High School, November 2017. Photo by Grace Prachthauser
'Almost, Maine,' at Morristown High School, November 2017. Photo by Grace Prachthauser
'Almost, Maine,' at Morristown High School, November 2017. Photo by Grace Prachthauser
'Almost, Maine,' at Morristown High School, November 2017. Photo by Grace Prachthauser
'Almost, Maine,' at Morristown High School, November 2017. Photo by Grace Prachthauser
'Almost, Maine,' at Morristown High School, November 2017. Photo by Grace Prachthauser
'Almost, Maine,' at Morristown High School, November 2017. Photo by Grace Prachthauser
'Almost, Maine,' at Morristown High School, November 2017. Photo by Grace Prachthauser
'Almost, Maine,' at Morristown High School, November 2017. Photo by Grace Prachthauser
'Almost, Maine,' at Morristown High School, November 2017. Photo by Grace Prachthauser
'Almost, Maine,' at Morristown High School, November 2017. Photo by Grace Prachthauser
'Almost, Maine,' at Morristown High School, November 2017. Photo by Grace Prachthauser
'Almost, Maine,' at Morristown High School, November 2017. Photo by Grace Prachthauser
'Almost, Maine,' at Morristown High School, November 2017. Photo by Grace Prachthauser
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Adding to the ambience is  an interactive theater component before and after the show, as well as during intermission. Improv actors are positioned throughout the halls, serving as community members of Almost, who are happy to talk to “travelers” passing by about their day to day lives.

Freshmen Clayton Emge and Carigan McGuinn with Frosty Jr. in the Troupe of 'Almost, Maine,' at MHS, November 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Freshmen Clayton Emge and Carigan McGuinn with Frosty Jr. in the Troupe of ‘Almost, Maine,’ at MHS, November 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Surrounded by Christmas Trees and snow, I was immersed in the feeling of northern Maine as I spoke with actors portraying a pair of children building a snowman, and a newly engaged couple, Jimmy and Sally, planning their lives together in their small hometown, all while I munched on some treats from the concession stand.

This show is not just something to watch, it is something to experience. For only $8 – $15 a ticket, you can experience the whimsy and joy of feeling love in the air– and you quickly forget that it is being put on by high school students.

Almost, Maine has two performances remaining: Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7 pm and Sunday the 19th at 2 pm, at the high school, at 50 Early St.

No matter your age, background, or level of interest in theater, this production of Almost, Maine promises a unique and fun experience, beyond what you might expect from a high school play.

Nicholas Voltaggio is a freshman at Morristown High School

Almost, Maine, MHS poster

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