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Live theatre returning with CCT’s “Almost, Maine”

Cranbrook Community Theatre’s fall production is perfectly suited for our pandemic times
Michelle and Bob McCue, co-directors of Cranbrook Community Theatre’s production of Almost, Maine. (Photo courtesy Ashlee Dawn)

There are exciting plans afoot at Cranbrook Community Theatre this fall. Despite the obstacles created by a global pandemic, CCT has come up with some innovative and exciting ways to present live theatre to our community.

Cranbrook Community Theatre is proud to announce the first play of the 2020-21 season — Almost, Maine.

Almost, Maine by John Cariani, comprises nine short vignettes that explore love and loss in the remote town of Almost, Maine. Directed by Michelle and Bob McCue, Almost, Maine is the perfect project to retrofit for the socially distanced needs called upon during the time of COVID-19.

“This piece is a series of vignettes that are each small cast,” Bob said. “This way we can safely rehearse each scene individually. Any touching or kissing is done by couples. This ensures the safety of all actors without compromising the piece.”

Bob’s co-director Michelle explains the reasoning behind choosing Almost Maine.

“After reading several scripts, (including many radio plays) looking for a project for CCT, I was ready to throw in the towel. I went back to scripts I had read last year, wondering if any of them could be adapted to be COVID friendly, but really none were. Then I remembered Almost, Maine. I had seen this show in Calgary several years back and remembered the beauty of the simple staging and then remembered it was all vignettes.

“After reading it again, we had the idea that those scenes that did require physical contact could possibly be cast using couples — I mean Cranbrook has a crazy amount of talented families, and it was actually not that difficult to make that happen. We knew scheduling rehearsals would be pretty easy too if we could get this done.

“And… there is never more than three people on stage at once — making the six feet rule pretty doable.”

The live audience will be intimate and physically distanced. A wider audience will be included through the magic of live-streaming technology.

These are unprecedented times and the production team and CCT Board of Directors, working in accordance with the BC Health Authority guidelines, has created a safe and unique way to continue the very important role of live theatre in our community. Bob explains that “more and more entertainment avenues are working to provide opportunities that are safe for both audience and participants. Theatre is no different. Despite COVID, we need choices that can give us a sense of normalcy. We can find ways to work together, apart. We can adapt to meet the entertainment needs of our community, providing a desired service.”

Michelle agrees wholeheartedly. “I love that we have been able to offer 19 people a safe way to do theatre. Creative people are like fish out of water when they aren’t creating. The arts in whatever form, spark our imaginations, give us hope and calm our fears. Live theatre now, during COVID feels like a return to normalcy, even though we will be limiting the audience, wearing masks, hand sanitizing. Once the music starts and the lights come up on that stage…. ah. It’s yesterday once more. COVID doesn’t exist, if only for an hour or two.”

Running September 25, 26, 27 and October 1, 2 & 3, show times 7:30 PM for all dates except the matinee Sept. 27 at 2:00 PM. There are only 35 tickets available for each live show ($17 Members - $20 Non Members). Live streaming is also available to watch from the comfort of your own home ($12 Members - $15 Non Members). All tickets are available at Audience members are encouraged to get their tickets soon, as all tickets must be purchased in advance, with no door ticket sales available due to health and safety restrictions.

You will not want to miss this unique theatre experience which takes a look at love through the lens of absurdity and magic. Almost, Maine promises to bring us together even though COVID-19 keeps us apart.

Barry Coulter

About the Author: Barry Coulter

Barry Coulter had been Editor of the Cranbrook Townsman since 1998, and has been part of all those dynamic changes the newspaper industry has gone through over the past 20 years.
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