DeKALB - “We’re going back to the place where we fell in love with theater,” said Ryan Massie, director of the first theater production of the Northern Illinois University School of Theatre and Dance 2013-2014 Mainstage Series season.
The season opening play is "Almost, Maine," by Tony Award-nominated actor John Cariani. It opened Oct. 17 as the first to perform in its new but temporary venue, at the Huntley Middle School auditorium. The play continues Oct. 24-26.
Massie said there is a lot of nostalgia in performing at the middle school, as many of the cast and crew fell in love with theater when they were in that stage of their education.
“The space is nice," Massie said. "It has its challenges since we’re the first ones in the space. I have a great cast and crew that is adapting well.”
"Almost, Maine" is the story people falling in and out of love in a fictional tow. The play is divided into nine short vignettes that explore the vastness of love, from its tribulations to its magic.
“It’s love…almost,” Massie said. “It’s deeper than just, ‘Love exists and it’s a good thing.’ This play is a story about the work that love requires.”
Although "Almost, Maine" has become the most-produced show in North American high schools this year - booting "A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream" to the second place spot - Massie doesn’t plan for this to be anything like the usual productions. He said the setting is in an abandoned storage house, in order to get back to the skeleton of the script.
He has collaborated with sound designer Jake Harbour to create transitional scenes with easily recognizable love songs that are distorted in some way.