An Interview with PBTS Associate Director and Director of Almost, Maine Bradley Akers
One cold, clear Friday night in the middle of winter, while the northern lights hover in the sky above, Almost’s residents find themselves falling in and out of love in the strangest ways. Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. Love is lost, found, and confounded. And life for the people of Almost, Maine will never be the same.
Players by the Sea brings Almost, Maine back to their Studio Stage after presenting the show last year to rave reviews. Sadie La Manna, Box Office Manager and Communications Coordinator for PBTS sat down with Associate Director and Director of Almost, Maine Bradley Akers to chat about the experience.
SL: For those who didn’t get a chance to see it last year, tell us a little about Almost, Maine.
BA: Where do I begin!? Almost, Maine is a unique and charming story comprised of 8 vignettes that follow residents in the town of Almost, Maine. These are simple people in a simple town with complicated problems — falling in love, falling out of love, finding love for the first time, watching love slip through your fingers for the first or maybe last time — it’s an exciting piece that has rich words and hysterical (oftentimes heartbreaking) situations. The great thing about Almost, Maine is it can be performed with as little as 4 people or as many as 19. We chose to do 4 core actors who play upwards of 4-5 characters a piece and 2 actors who remain the same from the beginning.
SL: Why was this show chosen to come back to the Studio Stage?
BA: Originally on our Season Schedule, we had Old Jews Telling Jokes in this March slot — but the rights were pulled from all productions in Florida because a touring company is coming through. So, we were charged then with finding a suitable replacement and through a lot of searching, Almost kept rising up as one we should re-mount due to its success last year. (We did it as a Special Event for 4 performances at this very exact time, actually). It’s theatrically challenging, beautifully written and a charming night at the theatre — we thought it was perfect in between two big dramatic shows.
SL: Was directing this production for the second time easier, or did you find it challenging to get back into? Why?
BA: You know, nothing ever gets easier. And I’m learning that as I grow up (or attempt to grow up). Putting this production back on its feet has been a really interesting process — the thing that worked so beautifully last time was that these actors worked so well with each other and they know, hands down, what they are doing on that stage. The thing that has been most challenging with this process is determining if there are certain things that we should “upgrade” since last year… if that makes any sense. But, we ended up deciding that we are just going to go way more in depth with these scenes and characters, elevating conflict and action. It has been so much fun.
SL: What can audiences expect this time around from Almost, Maine?
BA: Audiences can expect the same production that we had last year, but a production that is a little more intellectual, a production that has a little more texture to it and a production that is a little more charming. It’s a wonderful night at the theatre for anyone — families, couples, singles, anyone!
Almost, Maine runs March 11 through March 26 at Players by the Sea. Tickets range from $12-23.