Wilcox Stage Company’s Production of Almost, Maine Almost Ready

By Melissa McKenzie

The countdown is on as the Wilcox Stage Company puts the final touches on its fall drama, Almost, Maine. The play, which opens on Thursday, Nov. 16, tells nine stories through a series of scenes that explore love and loss in a remote, mythical town.

Although WSC is using simple stage elements and design, the stage and tech crew have been hard at work putting the pieces together and preparing for opening night.

Sophomore Alexis Paris was in tech training when the play’s original tech director dropped the class. She and junior Breanna Ronne, who isn’t in the class and are only able to help after school, stepped in to take over the technical side of the production.

“Our basic title is just to focus and make sure all tech is working together, all the stuff is getting built, everything is getting done on time,” said Ronne.

Paris quickly received her stage tool certifications and served as the play’s master electrician before being promoted to assistant tech director. She is currently working on cue and deck cue sheets before taking on the daunting task of helping with cue-to-cue, a necessity before opening night.

“Cue-to-cue is when you take all the cues that you made—the deck cue, the lighting cue, the props cue, the costume cue—and put it all in one script for the stage managers to read during the show,” she said.

Stage manager Monica Janusz, who served in the same role during last year’s production of Beauty and the Beast, is pulling double duty as an actor and part of the behind-the-scenes crew. Janusz, a senior, said she wanted both roles, but juggling the two has been a challenge.

“As a stage manager, I kind of get thrown around when there’s not someone doing the right job or they need help,” she said. “At the beginning of the year I was just training people on how to do light cues, how to do deck cues, basic painting stuff—everything I went over with people who are brand new at this. After I did that, we had auditions and then I got cast so I had to split up my time between acting and stage managing so I worked with [sophomore] Maya [Raman], the director, to run lines when everyone else was doing a job and then, when people would go home, I would take their spot.”

Janusz’s sister, Emily, is also in two roles this year—acting in the play and filling the role of lighting designer. The sophomore said her role has also been challenging because of some of the lighting they want to create.

“For the Aurora Borealis effect we’re going to be using a Gobo, which is a stencil and it’s a metal sheet with the design cut out on it so when you shine light through it, it goes on the cyc (backdrop),” she said.  “We’re going to be using that with greens and blues and it’s going to have stars. For the stars we’re going to be using a projection. I haven’t found it yet because it’s hard to find just one star going across, but that’s basically it.”

While the technical side of Almost, Maine comes together, the actors are putting final touches on the way they intend to portray their role and Raman has implemented a few changes to ensure the production is different from other performances of the same play.

“I found the script was very, very specific and that’s just not how I saw the play, for the most part,” she said. “So, I changed a lot of the general blocking. In the script it would say where certain characters are supposed to sit and we would change that around. There’s certain parts of the script where the characters can ad lib and we changed where those places might be and when they talk over each other.”

Almost, Maine will be performed Nov. 16-18 at the Mission City Center for Performing Arts, 3250 Monroe St., Santa Clara. Tickets are $7 for students and $10 for adults. Visit http://wilcoxstage.weebly.com/ for more information.