Members of the Clayton Youth Theater call it “relatable.”
Set on a cold Friday night in the dreamed-up town of Almost, Maine, the nine one-act plays that comprise “Almost, Maine” by John Cariani are all about relationships. The 14 characters tell separate stories woven together by the northern lights, shared stories and various manifestations of love.
“Although there are nine distinct stories, there is a flow that moves from story to story,” director Nikki Dyke said.
The characters all know each other, she said, and they all have a love story to tell. Some of them fall in love – literally, the knee-bruising kind – and some fall out of love.
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“It’s real life and it’s kind of messy,” said actress DelaneyAiello, who plays a character named Hope. “This feels like it could be real. It feels like it could be happening.”
The modern costumes help the audience relate to the stories, as does the wintry setting, Dyke said. She thought it would be a great production for the youth theater.
“When I read the script, I knew it was going to work perfectly for our program and for our students,” she said.
Students auditioned for their parts in November and began rehearsing in early January. They are nearing the end of the seven weeks of rehearsals and are excited.
“It’s very fast paced, and there’s nothing to get bored of. I’m excited to see that,” Aiello said.
Tyler Ellis, playing the part of Daniel, said he looks forward to the performance because although he has been in several musicals, “Almost, Maine” is his first play.
The production is one of two per year for the Clayton Youth Theater. Every summer, the group stages a musical, “a much bigger undertaking,” Dyke said.
The first performance will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, at The Clayton Center, 111 E. Second St. For opening night, a special dinner will be at 5:30 p.m. at the Wagner House, at 121 E Main St. in downtown Clayton. For diners, the price for dinner on opening night is included in the ticket price: $35 for adults and $20 for students 18 and younger.
The production continues at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 and March 1 at The Clayton Center. Those tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students.
Ticket prices do not include taxes and fees. For tickets, call 919-553-1737 or go to theclaytoncenter.com.