Continuing a trend of performing works that showcase the intricacies of the human condition, The Dickinson Community Players (DCP) held their first show of the semester on Friday with “Almost, Maine,” a play that depicts the simultaneous stories of nine couples in a small town on a snowy night in northern Maine as they fall in and out of love.
Over the past few semesters, DCP has chosen plays that relate to life past simple theatricals, such as last semester’s play, “Our Town.” Alivia Ruiz, an assistant director of “Almost, Maine” and a junior majoring in biology, said “Almost, Maine” fits perfectly into this theme.
“It can really apply to anyone regardless of perceived gender, sexual orientation or age,” she said. “Even if you haven’t experienced what some of the characters are going through, you can still pull and apply [it] to your own life.”
The play is layered with various elements that allow the audience to intimately connect with the characters. Characters interweave their interactions with the magical realism of the play, acting as though the magical things happening during their journeys fit right in place. The unique perspective from characters makes it hard to decipher what is imagined and what is real.
Bill Engle, director of the play and a senior majoring in geological sciences, said this effect stems from the focus of the scenes.
“The scenes exist only to the couples,” he said.
Nicholas Vogel, an assistant director of the play and a junior majoring in psychology, added that the seating arrangement for the show is curved with an aisle in the middle, a unique feature.
“The playwright, John Cariani, wanted the audience to look through a window into the town of ‘Almost, Maine,’” he said. “But we want to take it one step further and see how can we immerse the audience without breaking the fourth wall to make it such an intimate setting.”
Mike Boyle, a cast member in “Almost, Maine” and a senior majoring in English, said as an organization with minimal resources, DCP has turned challenging situations into creative results. For this particular show, despite a simple backdrop, the directors made an effort to add another layer of mysticism by having lights shown on the cast members’ faces during scenes to mimic the aurora borealis.
Since DCP is a philanthropy-based theatre group, Ruiz said its members pride themselves on giving back to their local community while doing what they love.
“What sets us apart is that half of our proceeds always do go to a charity,” Ruiz said.
Fifty percent of the proceeds from “Almost, Maine” are going to Family Planning of South Central New York, an organization that connects thematically to the show’s plot.
“What we like to do is find a theme from every show that connects to the outside world,” Vogel said. “We can both send a message about these themes and send our support to an organization that’s relevant to that theme.”