RCT’s Almost, Maine
This past week, I photographed Rochester Civic Theatre’s latest production, Almost, Maine. It’s a show made up of eight stories happening during one evening in the not-quite-town called Almost, Maine.
A ninth, somewhat shorter story bookmarks the others.
Greg, the director, likens it to the film, Love Actually. Its setting in Maine, in winter, with the northern lights showing up in the background of the outdoor scenes, speaks pretty well to a Minnesota audience.
Friday, we attended opening night. It’s always interesting to find out what I missed of the dialog and story while I was shooting the show. Like some of the references to the same places and some of the same people from one story to the next.
There were some scenes taking place indoors, and for those the lighting was a bit more intense. But the outdoor scenes were pretty dimly lit as usual for such nighttime scenes. There is plenty of physical comedy, too, so that was a challenge of this show.
Nearly all the stories involve just two people. That provides a lot of freedom for how I frame up the subjects to tell a story.
On the other hand, that also means their interactions and reactions won’t be amplified by other folks around them. So, I think the photos are somewhat more intimate.
The aurora background was pretty cool, and it did come across in several of my photos. The lighting overall was great.
Even though it provides a challenge technically for shooting the show, I love the look of the “nighttime” scenes. There’s a moodiness to them that adds atmosphere to the shots. Many non-musicals have none of that or only one or two such scenes. Here, there’s an abundance.
There’s also a mood portrayed by the sparse set. I’m often amazed how we humans can interpret the few lines of stick figures or make creatures from clouds. A few walls and a door and we know what we’re looking at. And we can then focus on the actors and their story instead of the set. We seem to accept it readily in theatre. Probably not so much in film.
The show is running for only two more weekends. It’s a terrific show, and you can feel the enthusiasm and fun the cast is having. It’s contagious. What better way to spend a cold Minnesota winter evening?