Stories about small towns seem to resonate more when they’re told in a small town. Almost, Maine, may be a mite smaller than Sedona — also, it’s fictional — but its residents express sentiments about smalltown living that Sedona Red Rock High School’s students surely relate to.
The Red Rock Players — the high school’s theater group — will perform “Almost, Maine” Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 9 through 12. It’s a play of short stories: Eight 10-orso minute vignettes, plus a prologue, interlogue and epilogue, that explore love and loss.
Play director and high school theater teacher Phil DePasquale chose “Almost, Maine” because it’s a play full of leads — each student gets a chance to shine, to stun other characters into silence with an impassioned monologue or command attention with a big gesture or prop. “The goal was to get as many kids involved as possible,” DePasquale said.
Outside of the prologue, interlogue and epilogue, each of the play’s standalone scenes stars different characters — 18 roles, give or take, for a cast of 13 students.
“It’s fun to put on a completely different person and really get into who they are,” said sophomore Jadin Strategier, who plays Pete, the lead of the play’s prologue, interlogue and epilogue, as well as Phil, a character whose marriage is falling apart.
Obvious but earnest metaphors abound, like a character who literally falls when he expresses he’s fallen in love with his best friend, or when one half of an estranged couple laments about “having hopes dashed” when, coincidentally, his lost love’s name is Hope.
“It’s cheesy as hell,” DePasquale said. But scenes are full of such “aww” moments, endearing the audience to these characters — and students — who are nothing but sincere. They’ve been practicing every weekday since late September, and DePasquale said one of his favorite things is watching how the students grow as actors.
One student in his theater tech class wouldn’t speak at all in front of the class at the beginning of the year, so DePasquale challenged
her to try out, and now she shines as one of the biggest personalities on stage.
“It’s all about developing the kids,” he said. “They all want to be here and they’re all excited.”
The Red Rock Players will perform “Almost, Maine” Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 9 through 12, at the Sedona Performing Arts Center, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road. Purchase tickets at the door: $10 general admission or $8 for students. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday.