Annual performance on the WMPAC stage on November 17-18
By Tucker Harris EBS STAFF
BIG SKY – As winter darkness sets in, a night of lost love, rediscovered love and reexamined love will light up the stage Warren Miller Performing Arts in ‘Almost, Maine’ performance of The Big Sky Community Theater.
Written by John Cariani, the play tells the story of an eventful winter night in the mythical small town of Almost, Maine through a series of eight comic and tragic vignettes.
The local show, scheduled for November 17 and 18 at 7 p.m., is directed by Big Sky’s Ashley Dodd, Stephanie Kissel and Vanessa Wilson. After a virtual season last year, the director trio are delighted to present the performance live on the WMPAC stage.
“We have more people than we have ever had in a [Big Sky Community Theater show] and a lot of people who have never performed on stage before, ”said Dodd. “I’m really excited people are ready to go out and try it.”
Big Sky local Vicky Nordahl is one of those players. Although he had never performed on stage, Nordahl auditioned in search of a fun experience and a way to meet new people. “I just want to have fun; that’s my main focus with this,” she said. Nordahl is one of 11 actors who will premiere on stage on November 17th.
On the other side of the spectrum, Stephanie Kissel has been a part of community theater since its inception in 2012. Kissel will perform in a stage and she is also the musical director of the production. Kissel and musician Sarah Mitchell will play music between each scene to continue the show in several parts.
Kissel described the music as a variety of pop songs from various genres. “Some of these are intentionally meant to be a little cheesy and funny and others are meant to be poignant,” she said. Kissel and Mitchell chose songs based on how the actors read their different characters and plots.
The “community” play of community theater extends far beyond local talent on stage. The production’s poster and schedules were designed by Big Sky School District student Stacy Fletcher to create graphic posters, and the Big Sky Community Choir will also be appearing on the show. The community theater itself is an adult education program of the BSSD.
“Everyone has a little piece and everyone is contributing in their own way,” Kissel said. “It looks like a real community production. Having the full support of the community is great. Playwright Cariani says that while “Almost, Maine” is both set in a city that goes through a lot of pain because of heartbreak, it’s still meant to be a comedy as well. “Sadness and pain are the funniest things in the world,” he writes.
In many ways, “Almost, Maine” is a timely and appropriate performance for Big Sky as the community emerges from the pandemic, Kissel said.
“Coming out of COVID… it’s very sad, but in a way that allows you to laugh,” she said. [“Almost, Maine”] is perhaps therapeutic and a powerful way to tell that story.
Tickets are on sale for $ 10 online https://warrenmillerpac.org/ and will be available both in person and online for both shows.