El Estoque

Preview: Preparation underway for ‘Almost, Maine,’ to open Nov. 8

Sophomore+Michaela+Murphy+exhibits+her+handiwork+in+the+front+lobby.+Murphy+and+her+Advanced+Drama+classmates+crafted+a+miniature+3D+diorama+of+the+town+of+Almost%2C+Maine.+Photo+by+Yashashree+Pisolkar.
Sophomore Michaela Murphy exhibits her handiwork in the front lobby. Murphy and her Advanced Drama classmates crafted a miniature 3D diorama of the town of Almost, Maine. Photo by Yashashree Pisolkar.

Sophomore Michaela Murphy exhibits her handiwork in the front lobby. Murphy and her Advanced Drama classmates crafted a miniature 3D diorama of the town of Almost, Maine. Photo by Yashashree Pisolkar.

Sophomore Michaela Murphy exhibits her handiwork in the front lobby. Murphy and her Advanced Drama classmates crafted a miniature 3D diorama of the town of Almost, Maine. Photo by Yashashree Pisolkar.

Yashashree Pisolkar

Fall production cast members work on finishing touches before opening night.

The cast of MVHS Drama’s latest fall production “Almost, Maine,” directed by Drama teacher Sara Capule, is in its final days of technical and dress rehearsals. One of the more modern scripts the Drama department has selected, “Almost, Maine” features nine vignettes that revolve around the theme of love. Even though the actors have been preparing for their scenes since August, components such as lights, construction and set decor have kept them busy through this week leading up to opening night. Nonetheless, these supplemental responsibilities have given them a chance to develop their technical prowess in addition to their acting skills.

Sophomore Michaela Murphy

Sophomore Michaela Murphy exhibits her handiwork in the front lobby. Murphy and her Advanced Drama classmates crafted a miniature 3D diorama of the town of Almost, Maine. Photo by Yashashree Pisolkar.

Sophomore Michaela Murphy exhibits her handiwork in the front lobby. Murphy and her Advanced Drama classmates crafted a miniature 3D diorama of the town of Almost, Maine. Photo by Yashashree Pisolkar.


Role: Hope; Murphy says Hope is “a hopeful inhabitant of Maine who often wonders ‘What could’ve been if?’”
Side project: Front lobby decor

For past productions, Drama students have featured show programs and headshots of the cast in the auditorium front lobby. This year, however, Murphy and her Advanced Drama classmates decided to create a small-scale 3D representation of the mystical — and fictional — town of Almost, Maine where the play is set. Murphy brought in her mother’s collectibles of miniature Christmas trees and toy train stations to populate the diorama. She also added miniature human dolls to serve as the town’s inhabitants.

“Of course we are responsible for rehearsing our scenes, but these side responsibilities also add to this special show,” Murphy said. “I am also excited for the moment when we’re all ready behind the curtain and Mrs. Capule is giving the opening speech.”

 

Sophomore Jonathan Thompson will play two roles in show –– Randy and Dave. "Almost, Maine" will open on Nov. 8. Photo by Yashashree Pisolkar.

Sophomore Jonathan Thompson will play two roles in the show – Steve and Jimmy. ‘Almost, Maine’ will open on Nov. 8. Photo by Yashashree Pisolkar.

Sophomore Jonathan Thompson
Roles:
Steve; Thompson reveals that Steve “can’t feel pain and doesn’t have a good understanding of people. But he gets in touch with his emotions when he meets Marvelyne.”
Jimmy; “Struggling to get over his girlfriend, Sandrine, who left him without telling … there is a build-up to their first encounter since the breakup.”
Side project: Set construction

Like some of the other male actors in the show, Thompson plays two roles in “Almost, Maine.”  However, his additional responsibility as an Advanced Drama student also includes teaching Beginning Drama students about set construction. According to Thompson, the “Almost, Maine” set was designed by Kit Wilder, the Associate Artistic Director at City Lights Theater Company in San Jose, but the students play an integral role in making his designs a reality.


“There should never be a distinct line between acting and production,” Thompson said. “It’s healthy to get involved in other aspects such as light, set [construction] and direction because it can also help you become a better actor.”                                

 

Junior Cathy Ma

Junior Cathy Ma measures a piece of wood before cutting to fit the required dimensions. Ma will play the role of Sandrine in the production. Photo by Yashashree Pisolkar.

Junior Cathy Ma measures a piece of wood before cutting to fit the required dimensions. Ma will play the role of Sandrine in the production. Photo by Yashashree Pisolkar.


Role: Sandrine; Ma describes her as a “non-confrontational girl who gets put into a very confrontational situation when she encounters her ex-boyfriend for the first time since she left without telling him.”
Side project: Set construction

Ma plays the role of Sandrine, but as one of the master constructors of the set, she has the additional responsibility of overseeing the completion of all aspects of set construction. She is often involved with the nitty-gritty set work that requires her to practice her carpenting, painting and measuring skills for crafting various pieces of the set.

“I am really proud of the work that all the set constructors have done,” Ma said. “We are responsible for teaching [set-building] skills to the Beginning Drama students, but we actually did most of it ourselves.”

 

Sophomore TJ Tarshis dresses in character. He will play the roles of Randy and Dave in 'Almost, Maine." Photo by Yashashree Pisolkar.

Sophomore TJ Tarshis dresses in character. He will play the roles of Randy and Dave in ‘Almost, Maine.” Photo by Yashashree Pisolkar.

Sophomore TJ Tarshis
Roles:
Randy; According to Tarshis, Randy is “your typical Almost, Maine kind of guy who goes around on dates with girls. But he keeps falling … eventually falling in love.”
Dave; “He is a silent lover who has been friends with Rhonda for a really long time … from about the end of high school.”
Side project: Light installation

While Tarshis is excited to play the roles of Randy and Dave, which he says are the biggest he has ever received in a Drama production, he also enjoys script rehearsals and light design. Although he didn’t contribute to the light design for “Almost, Maine,” Tarshis developed an interest in lights when he designed them for Drama’s black box production of “Julius Caesar.” For “Almost, Maine,” Tarshis contributed to the behind-the-scenes preparations by installing the stage lights. 

“I love lighting and think that it’s an important component of stage [decor],” Tarshis said.

 “Almost, Maine” will be playing on Nov. 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. Tickets can be bought for $10 to $12 in advance in the academic court or seatyourself.biz/montavista or for $12 to $14 at the door.