Sunday, November 2, 2014

Windham Center Stage Theater trains the next generation of directors - By Michelle Libby

Windham Center Stage Theater (WCST) is known for training actors, singers and dancers both adults and children through its performances held in the gym at the Windham Town Hall. This fall WCST offers “Almost Maine”, a story about a town “that’s so far north, it’s almost not in the United States.” The play takes place one winter night in a town called Almost. The residents find themselves falling in and out of love with the characters in the play. 

The play, written by Mainer John Cariani from Presque Isle, will be directed by Windham’s own Allison Sample, who after graduating from Sesquehanna University with a degree in Physics, returned to play Sandy in WCSTs summer production of Grease before taking on the title director. 

“Everyone has experienced at least some of the emotions in the show and can connect with some of the scenes. There’s comedy and heart wrenching moments,” Sample said.  

Sample grew up in Windham and performed in many WCST productions. She also worked on plays at Windham High School. She directed short films, but this will be her first time directing a stage show. 
“It all happened in a bit of a whirlwind,” she said. Her plan was to propose a different show to direct for the spring, (Harvy) but when the call came that WCST needed a director, Sample stepped up. 

The cast she is directing has nine actors. She’s also receiving help from another WCST stars Giovan Corsetti and one of Windham’s veteran directors, Rob Juergens.

“Casting was the worst part,” Sample said. She was limited in her pairings because of the cast she had, but she made it work with the help from Juergens. “It was good to have his insight during the casting.”
“(Cariani) is a Mainer. It’s not Downeast…it’s the county,” said Juergens. This show was a good opportunity for a new director because of the show’s flexibility, and low budget. He refers to himself as a consultant offering support when a new director questions herself.” 

 “It’s been a good group to have as my first directing experience,” she said. Sample admits that she doesn’t know all of the answers and she changes her find, but the cast is very flexible. 

The director is responsible for primarily what happens on the stage. “I like to let them run through the scene to see what they want to do before I make corrections. It’s more natural that way,” Sample said. The producer, in this show Laurie Shepard, works with more logistics and keeping the lines of communication open between all of the key people in the play. Juergens and Sample had a three hour meeting before casting the show to discuss the play, Sample’s vision and character development, Juergens said. 

“I enjoy seeing the scenes come together, Sample said. Her theater background also helps when it comes to working with actors. She knows things that will work and won’t work in a certain scene. With years of being up on stage and doing a lot of shows and working with directors she has stored up “What works for them” information. 

Juergens said that Sample will gain confidence as she goes along. “It’s an emotional piece you’re putting on stage. Have confidence that we did it and they’re going to like it,” Juergens said.   

Almost Maine has been easier to costume, she said. They asked people to go home and find their winter clothes to wear on stage. The set was created by Sample’s father, Sample and Corsetti. 

WCST is run by a board of directors and Sample said that they are a little nervous about debuting a new director, but they are very supportive of what she needs.  

The most important thing is for the audience to “feel good about it in the end. It’s really a fun show, although really emotional. It’s not a show you’ll leave down trodden.” 

Sample hasn’t decided what she wants to do with her degree in Physics, but “nothing is off the table at this point,” she said. 

WCST encourages new directors, new actors and want the community involvement in all of their productions. 

The show opens on November 7 and runs for two weekends. For more information, visit Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors at the door
ALMOST, MAINE: It’s love. But not quite.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your Comments Help Improve Your Community.