Love is in the air as Newton High School stages its production of "Almost, Maine" Feb. 8-10.
"It is a show about relationships," said director Jessica Heidrick.
The play is comprised of eight vignettes, with each scene taking place in the same town on the same night.
"Each scene has a different couple and they're at different stages in their relationships," Heidrick said.
The town's name of "Almost" reflects the turning points each couple finds themselves nearing.
"Each one of the snapshots of the relationships shows they're almost on the cusp of something great in scope," Heidrick said.
The script gives the cast of nearly 20 students the opportunity to showcase a range of emotions in the 10-minute segments.
"It gives some nice acting challenges because some of the scenes are funny (and) some of them are super serious," Heidrick said. "...There are a lot of relationship dynamics in it and it lends itself to a lot of different character analyses and depth."
The play is staged against the backdrop of one large rotating set piece.
"The set is designed by my technical theater class, so it's all their concept," Heidrick said.
The students constructed an octagonal base and added wheels — 40 of them — to enable it to spin easily.
"The octagon was proposed by someone in our class," said NHS student Rai Angolo. "With eight scenes and eight sides to an octagon, we thought, 'how can we make this happen?'"
The students soon realized their original plan to divide the space into eight-walled wedges would not work well and revised the design to four wedges.
"We have multiple scenes that take place in a field, some that take place in an interior and a couple that take place on a porch, so we decided to condense it and each would have a little more room to play," Angolo said.
Not only was the set's design a challenge for the students, they were also tasked with creating it for as little money as was practical.
"We wanted to reuse as much stuff from our previous shows as possible," Angolo said.
"I gave them a budget and we worked it out and they're way under budget. It's awesome." Heidrick said. "...The kids have done a lot on this show. I'm very blessed."
A one-night-only "Almost, Maine" dinner theater package is being offered; for $20 per person, attendees will be served a three-course Italian meal including their choice of spaghetti or alfredo and dessert at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at Newton High School.
"We're really playing up the date night thing. It's going to be so romantic," Heidrick laughed. "The kids will be dressing up and serving."
Tickets for "Almost, Maine" are $9 for adults and $6 for students. Performances will start at 7 p.m. Feb. 8-9 and at 2 p.m. Feb. 10. To reserve dinner theater tickets, email email@example.com.