The Show Will Go On

The directors, cast, and crew of the fall play have found a resourceful way to put on this year’s show.

The+cast+and+crew+of+%22Almost+Maine%22+meet+in+the+NASH+library+to+begin+planning+for+the+livestreamed+event+this+November.

photo by Sally Cho

The cast and crew of “Almost Maine” meet in the NASH library to begin planning for the livestreamed event this November.

It’s a go! North Allegheny district officials have given the okay to NASH fall play directors Mr. Truesdell and Ms. Harrell to produce Almost, Maine this November. But this year, the theatrical experience will be unlike any other that the directors, the cast and crew, and even the audience have ever experienced.

“We didn’t know if the play could happen this year, so doing the show at all is a big deal, regardless of the format,” senior Josi Pietrzyk said.

Due to public health precautions, this year’s performance will take place in an auditorium of empty seats.  No members will be allowed into the building to watch the show in person. But, for the first time ever, they will be able to watch the show live via webstream.  The NASH tech crew will broadcast the live three-camera production on November 21st at 7:30 pm.  

“While we know this is not the ideal format, this is not an ideal year,” Truesdell and Harrell wrote in a statement to cast and crew earlier this month. “However, we refuse to let this illness define us and our production.” 

The entire cast met in the NASH library for three days of full read-throughs last week, rehearsing all eight scenes plus a prologue and epilogue. They sat at a circle of tables, each to their own, while maintaining a safe social distance.

Truesdell and Harrell also had to choose the production that best fit the circumstances.  Each of the eight scenes in Almost, Maine consists of two or three cast members, making rehearsals easily manageable. For the next four weeks, rehearsal days will focus only on selected scenes. Should everything run smoothly through October, the schedule will remain the same until November, when the entire cast and crew will meet in the NASH auditorium to rehearse the full show.

“Most of us expected our show to be canceled, so the fact that we are making this work means so much,” junior Hannah Oldham said.

For senior Daniel Schaub, the change in routine is to be embraced.

It’s something different, which is always a good thing,” Schaub said. “I didn’t think I was going to get to perform one final time my senior year, so I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity.”

I didn’t think I was going to get to perform one final time my senior year, so I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity.”

— Daniel Schaub, senior

Each scene in Almost, Maine is essentially a short play on its own, but as the show progresses the theme of love and romance ties the scenes together.

Truesdell and Harrell produced the same show three years ago at NASH, but with the new format this year, they expect an entirely new set of challenges.

“We are excited to see how this goes,” Harrell said. “Actors play off of the energy that the audience brings.  As they are performing without an audience in the room, there will be challenges, for sure.  But the actors will know that the audience is there on the other side of the camera and that they only have one shot to give it their all.”

But for Oldham, the challenges will be worth the effort.

“In the midst of a time where not much is able to happen, it’s inspiring that we are coming together to make something people will enjoy,” she said.  

With the announcement of this year’s plan for the fall play, there was a collective sigh of relief from the students who have devoted so much of their high school experience to live theater. They’ve grown up with the saying, “The show must go on,” and this November it will.