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.


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Vivian Hughbanks
Vivian Hughbanks '16 is a Politics and German major from Tennessee. She regularly contributes to School Reform News. She has also been published in The Hill newspaper,, and the Chattanooga Times Free-Press. She hopes to work as a foreign correspondent after graduation. email: | twitter: @vivianhughbanks