With finals week coming up soon, many students are preparing for final projects, papers, presentations and exams, and a select few are preparing their finals to be broadcasted for the audience of the Concordia student body or the Fargo-Moorhead area itself.
The 10-scene play “Almost, Maine” takes place in the fictional and unofficial town of Almost, Maine. Five different directors come together to not only complete their final, but to also create a story about love of all different kinds. This semester-long project culminated in the show’s production on Apr. 7-10.
“Almost, Maine” brought a new meaning to what finals can look like.
The advanced directing course has five people in the class: Andrew Bates, Amy Konkler, Delaney Matejka, Caden Nestler and Lizzi Ortmeier.
Each directed two scenes out of the overall 10. The real challenge presented was not that they would be graded not only on their individual scenes, but also as a production.
The professor of class, David Wintersteen, had his own ungraded role in the production as the producer. His job was to ensure that the directors were running on track and were getting their feet off the ground.
One of the more outstanding details of “Almost, Maine” was the size of the cast. Each director had two sets of actors to work with except for two scenes with a group of three. In total, it was a cast of 21 students.
Senior Lizzi Ortmeier said, “But with five directors each working with smaller groups of people, it really feels like a small production. So it’s got the spectacle and wonder of a production with a lot of people in it, but it’s got the intimacy between cast members as a small show, which is really special.”
Many moving parts went into making the intimate scenes feel more real. Marc Devine from NDSU is an intimacy coordinator and was brought on to help act as a resource for the directors and actors alike. Intimacy coordinators work to help actors feel more comfortable during high intensity moments of intimacy.
Though the directors were learning as part of a classroom experience, the volunteer actors were learning alongside them.
Jaxon Millette, a first-year student actor, said “You have to be willing to change at the drop of a hat. Like, you’ve been rehearsing something one way, and maybe somebody wants another pair of eyes on there. So, you’ve got to be able to work quickly to be able to figure out how your characters or how the actor is going to react from that.”
One of the most important details was the set itself, said Amy Konkler.
“I remember when Christian Boy, our set designer, came into class with some renderings of just what it would look like…As soon as the trees went up, it was instantly exactly what I had imagined.”
Out of Konkler’s four years in theater, she said this was her favorite set, by far.