Classes had just resumed when scores of aspiring thespians marched over to the Sage Center for the Arts on Aug. 28 to audition for the Tower Players’ production of “Almost, Maine.” Almost 50 students showed up to try out for the 20 available roles.
Director and lighting designer Michael Beyer is happy to put on the contemporary romance-comedy. The theatre department rotates the role of director among its faculty, giving Beyer the opportunity to serve in two roles this time.
He said that, rather than interfere with each other, lighting and directing are actually “symbiotic” positions.
“I don’t have to try and pick my own brain,” Beyer joked.
Beyer already had rehearsals rolling as of Aug. 31. The players practice from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sunday to Thursday, and move from story to story, doing full a runthrough at the end of each week.
Beyer said it was not unusual that eight freshmen made the cut, though the theatre department saw more people come out for parts this year, but several of the Tower Players’ Class of 2018 were shocked to get roles in the production.
“I’m very excited to debut as a freshman,” commented Nikolai Dignoti. “Just sitting in auditions made me feel like a little fish in a very big pond and when I found out that I had made the cut, I was very surprised and of course a little excited.”
Freshman Elyse Hutcheson, who was cast as Sandrine, a woman about to be married, thought that most people seemed to have more experience than her. “Everyone was very talented,” she said.
“I’m really grateful I was able to get my foot in the door of theatre, which will hopefully lead to more roles in the future,” freshman Jonathan Edelblut said, who was paired with another freshman, Devin Ward, to play character couple Dave and Rhonda.
Freshman Laura Sanderson had a different perspective on the production:
“This experience is particularly interesting because I’ve actually been in this show before,” Sanderson said. “It’s amazing to see how different actors can create such different characters out of the exact same lines.”
Freshman Brooke Agee described the play as “a phenomenal show that tells the story of love and relationships that everyone can relate to. It is a show about ordinary people in an ordinary town, but I assure you the people behind it are anything but.”
The Tower Players will perform “Almost, Maine,” Oct. 8 – 10 in Markel Auditorium in the Sage Center for the Arts.