MVHS Drama’s First Play Without Masks: Almost, Maine
Mission Viejo Drama takes on “Almost, Maine”, a play based around nine short stories about love.
After a year of semi-remote learning, many students were looking forward to commuting to school everyday to see their friends they haven’t seen in months and to get a sense of normalcy. The students most excited for this return to normalcy were the artists: the musicians, the film students, and the drama department.
With this return to normalcy, though, came some natural creative hindrances. For the drama department, the major obstacle was masks, but they figured out how to make do with what they had, using transparent masks that do not fog up, allowing the actors to express themselves substantially more than they would be able to by wearing an opaque mask. But now, after slowly transitioning back to normalcy, I am glad to say that the MVHS Drama team was able to perform their first performance in two years mask-free, and the difference is night and day.
To be clear, I am not saying that the actors’ performances were bad when they were wearing the masks. I am just saying that the actors were able to express themselves in their full capacity now and that wearing a mask, no matter if it is clear or not, will still make it substantially harder for you to act and worsen the viewer’s experience. Even if you have a world class audio team there will still be exponentially more troubles with a mask, that is just the way it is.
When I saw MVHS drama perform “Clue on Stage” it was great. I was astonished by how well the crew was able to pull off acting while in a mask, but (logically) there were setbacks due to the actors wearing masks. So I am so glad to see the drama department perform their first show without masks, “Almost, Maine”.
“Almost, Maine”, written by John Cariani, is a play compiling 9 different love-based stories all taking place in the ‘almost’ town (the citizens never organized themselves into a city) T13-R7, but people just refer to it as Almost. Almost is located in Maine, smack dab in the middle in fact, and is disconnected from everything, a classic very small town.
The play’s underlying meaning is a rather simple and sweet one, covering love and disconnection, whether it be disconnection from other towns or disconnection from people, that is covered throughout this play. And when there is disconnection with people those disconnections are mended, showing how love perseveres all, it may seem like love is not always there, but it is.
All the nine stories in the play are about a comedic slice-of-life love story with some including some plot lines that you have to suspend your disbelief to enjoy (ie. in one scene the two people in the scene are literally falling for eachother).
I found the play to be a bit over the top with some parts but I really liked how the actors portrayed their characters, with my personal favorite story being scene 2 “Her Heart”. I also thought that it was really cool that a majority of the scenes were directed by different students and thought that this was the perfect format for them to do something like that in.
The play was nothing groundbreaking, but it was a nice compilation of short stories with great portrayals of those stories. All of the cast really sold whatever love-related idea they were trying to express. It was just a nice, sweet play.
Credit: Megan Mahoney Lighting Design