‘Almost, Maine’ hits stage today


By Glenn Battishill - [email protected]



Hayes High School actors Julia Waltz and Riley Christopher rehearse a scene in “Almost, Maine.”

Hayes High School actors Julia Waltz and Riley Christopher rehearse a scene in “Almost, Maine.”


Courtesy photo | Hayes Thespians

The Hayes High School production of “Almost, Maine” opens today after weeks of rehearsal and preparation.

Hayes English teacher Kelsey Wright stepped into the director’s chair for this production and said Wednesday that behind-the-scenes limitations forced the cast and crew to be flexible when picking and preparing the show.

“This year, our costume director and set design director were both involved in a family wedding toward the beginning of October, so we knew they would be limited in how much they could participate throughout the run of the show,” Wright said. “So, we knew we needed to choose a play that offered a full experience for the student actors and crew members that was more lenient with costumes and set pieces. I started looking and narrowed it down to a short list, one of which was ‘Almost, Maine.’”

Wright said she researched the show and thought “Almost, Maine” was “a perfect fit” for the Hayes Thespians.

“(The show offered) flexible casting, LGBTQ+ representation, minimal set, contemporary costumes, and (was) character-focused,” Wright said. “This allowed us to get away with our set and costume directors needing to take some time off, and it allowed us to work through the aspects of character that are normally sacrificed for blocking and work with the set.”

Wright said the more character-focused show changed how it was rehearsed.

“Our entire first month of the show was spent digging into emotions and backstory of the characters, so that by the time we blocked each scene, the students had an idea of who these characters are,” Wright said. “We also spent a lot of time working on stage chemistry, since the play is set up in very clear pairs — each scene covering a love story between two individuals.”

Wright said the small number of cast members made the show more resilient during recent bouts of illness, and rehearsals had gone “incredibly well.”

“We were fully blocked with three weeks left until opening night, so we were able to take a full week away from the show when the ‘Pacer Plague’ hit,” Wright said. “We have had to rely on understudies a few times, but overall the rehearsals have gone without issue. The nice thing about this play is that each scene only has two or three actors in it, so when illness strikes, we can easily pivot and work on other scenes until those actors return. These last two weeks, then, we have been working on tech elements and are really pleased with everything!”

The show will open today at 7:30 p.m. with another performance at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The show runs approximately two hours with a 15-minute intermission. Tickets are available at our.show/nfvw2lva and are $6 for seniors and $9 for adults and students.

Wright said she’s excited for audiences to see the character-focused show and see students flex their acting skills.

“I am most excited for the LGBTQ+ representation on the Hayes stage for the first time, and for our students to be able to present a play that relies on so much character development and emotion,” Wright said. “Last year, we chose a play that would draw people in with a well-known story, large set and outrageous costumes, so this year I’m excited for our audience to see the kids in a completely different setting, working through more real-life situations and showing a range of human emotions.”

Hayes High School actors Julia Waltz and Riley Christopher rehearse a scene in “Almost, Maine.”
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2022/10/web1_AlmostMaine3.jpgHayes High School actors Julia Waltz and Riley Christopher rehearse a scene in “Almost, Maine.” Courtesy photo | Hayes Thespians

By Glenn Battishill

[email protected]

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.