Alex Hodges, Campus Carrier Arts & Living Editor
Rome Little Theatre’s (RLT) production of John Cariani’s “Almost, Maine” opens this weekend at the DeSoto Theatre in downtown Rome. It is a simple comedic play about love in all its forms and through the stages of life, and it consists of nine scenes that explore love and loss in the remote and mythical town of Almost, Maine.
One thing to note about this particular RLT production is that many members of the cast may be familiar. Comprising this cast are a Berry student, some faculty and staff members and other Berry alumni and affiliates.
Daniel George, a junior at Berry, portrays a young man named Pete, who does not quite grasp how to move forward his relationship with his girlfriend, Ginette, played by Kaitlin Anderson. George has done several productions with RLT. This is his fourth show on stage with RLT, but he has worked as a stage crew member many times. His first production at the theater was “The Outsiders,” based on the novel by S. E. Hinton. Since, he has been in a production of “Cats,” and later “The Ascension of Twyla Potts” and “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
Balancing schoolwork with rehearsal time can be difficult and stressful, according to George. He was in Berry College Theatre Company’s Christmas show last year, “Make Merry.”
“That really helped me figure out how to balance my schoolwork because it was way more intense than this show,” George said.
Andrew Bressette, vice president for enrollment at Berry, plays the role of Lendall. He has been in a few productions with RLT, as well, the most recent being “The Producers.” Bressette said that being in the show is a fairly significant time commitment, not just for him, but for students like George, as well. He is only in one of the nine scenes, but because auditions were only three weeks ago, he has been hard at work memorizing lines and being fully present at rehearsals.
Because this show is conveniently split into nine different scenes, Lead Director Chris Davidson is working with participants of the RLT Directors’ Lab, which has given them the chance to work together on the production. Maegan Williams is one of those directors.
“We get to work on our own scenes, but we have to make it come together with the others in a way that keeps the flow of the central theme,” Williams said.
Williams said that working with Davidson has been eye-opening, and that she is supportive and has a lot of knowledge to impart on the other directors.
Another one of the directors is Justin Karch (01c), who is both a music teacher at Berry’s elementary and middle schools and works in the office of advancement. Some other Berry folks working on the production are Amanda Swedenson, the associate director of financial aid at Berry, Eric McDowell, professor of mathematics, Claire Conner (13c), a teacher at Berry elementary and middle schools and many more.
Berry students, faculty and staff are always welcome to help out with and audition for RLT’s productions. According to George, they are always seeking help with stage crew positions, and students are offered the opportunity to volunteer as ushers during shows in exchange for free attendance to the show.
RLT and the DeSoto Theatre are conduits for the outreach of Berry in the Rome community, and will likely continue to be for years to come.
“Almost, Maine” will be on stage in Rome on the weekends from Feb. 8 through 17. Tickets can be purchased online at RomeLittleTheatre.com or at the ticket window outside the theater.