Drama Students Shine in “Check, Please” and “Almost, Maine”

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This past weekend, M-A’s Drama classes put on two vibrant performances in room C-16, and they will perform one more round of shows this upcoming weekend. The first is Check, Please, a 45-minute, one-act play by Jonathan Rand about bad first dates. Dating can be an unpredictable affair, especially when the dates are with a person who has a fear of everything, a person who is a little too invested in their favorite sports team, or a person who dresses up as a pirate—all of which are some of the chaotic characters featured in Check, Please.

Drama teacher Danette Bathauer, who helped students prepare for the performances, said, “Check, Please has a more overt style of comedy since it shows a series of awful dates with characters you would never want to encounter.”

The second show is John Carani’s Almost, Maine, a collection of nine short scenes taking place in the fictional town of Almost, Maine. It has comedic moments but focuses more on falling in and out of love with more of a heartfelt tone. Each scene has plenty of twists and turns, featuring relatable characters and sweet outcomes.

Junior Bethany Hyde said, “The heart of Almost, Maine is really sweet. It’s funny, lighthearted, and cute. It’s a human, down-to-earth show about awkward people being awkward, and it’s silly and serious at the same time.”

Bathauer said, “Both plays are done in a vignette style, which means they are small scenes that could stand alone. Almost, Maine’s vignettes tell stories of love and loss in longer and more complex scenes. Both plays focus on relationships, which is part of why we chose to do these two shows.”

All rehearsals were held in class, and this was many of the performers’ first play. Bathauer said, “A lot of kids here have never felt what it’s like to perform for an audience and to feel the joy of completing a play. Some of these kids aren’t normally in theater, and so I really like seeing them perform. The risk is low, and it’s a place for the students and myself to try out new things and work with others.” 

Hyde said, “I like that there are lower stakes for these performances than the bigger ones in the PAC, and there’s less of a time commitment. It means I get to have more fun instead of worrying about how well I’m going to perform.”

Junior Ryan Dyer said, “It was a lot of rehearsing. As we got near the end, we started focusing on what we were doing in the scenes more than just memorizing the lines. We worked with our scene partners to decide how we were going to act out the scenes. For smaller movements, it’s more just getting to know your character and what they would do in the scene beyond the words themselves.”

Dyer said, “I love playing different characters and getting to know them so that I can understand how to best perform as them. In Almost, Maine, I play the character Pete, and I love how much of an airhead he is.” 

Freshman Joseph Tompkins said, “I really enjoyed that I got to choose the direction for my character. I was able to make my character, Jimmy, feel the most authentic that I could make him in terms of how he behaved and felt, which was more anxious.”

Dyer said, “I love the writing for Almost, Maine. A lot of the time, love stories are just about two characters falling in love, but here, I like that this is a love story with many different types of love: falling out, new love, old love—it’s all just really clever and well done.”

The final performances of Check, Please are on Wednesday, April 24th, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 27th at 7 p.m.. The final performances of Almost, Maine are on Thursday, April 25th, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 27th, 4 p.m. All performances are in room C-16 with a suggested donation of $5.

Jace is a sophomore, and this is her first year in journalism. She hopes to write about local issues that impact M-A students and beyond to provide insight on ways we can improve as a school and community together. In her free time, she reads a variety of articles relating to local, national, and international news.

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