Bayou Players present nine stories of love from fictional town

By By Jordan Gribble / Special to the American Press

Love is a mystical thing, it comes and

goes and leaves a little bit of magic in its wake. This is especially

true in the fictitious

town of “Almost, Maine,” where on a Friday night at 9 p.m., nine

stories of love in all its stages take place.

The McNeese State University Theatre Bayou Players will present performances of the play in the Ralph Squires Recital Hall

at McNeese State University,.

Director of “Almost, Maine” Charles McNeely said the play’s setting of a town that is almost but not quite in Maine lends

itself to the mythical nature of love.

“In the mythical town of Almost, Maine,

nine couples get together on a Friday night. Each couple’s story deals

in some way

with the theme of love. Falling in love, discovering love, losing

love and anything in between. Maybe love is there but hasn’t

been professed yet, and this is the moment when the profession

takes place. It has the very real idea to it of people falling

in love, but it’s done really theatrically where each scene has

something mystical in it.”

“In one scene we have a girl who is

meeting her boyfriend who she has dated for 11 years without a proposal,

and she’s fed

up. She shows up with all of these bags which contain the love he

gave to her over the years, and asks him to give her back

the bags of love she had given to him. Each scene has something

like that, it’s very interesting and fun. It’s a comedy with

some serious undertones and hopefully at the end of the play when

you’ve seen all nine scenes you’ll understand the complexity

of love and the wonderful feeling that it can be whenever it’s in

your life,” McNeely said.

Only nine actors will portray the

play’s nine couples, with all of the actors taking double duty and

portraying multiple characters.

McNeese theatre student Hayley Smith

said that due to the production’s short rehearsal schedule, which began

before the semester

started, it has been a challenge to make sure audiences can

differentiate between the different characters she plays on stage.

“I’m playing three characters, in one scene I am meeting up for the first time with an ex-boyfriend of mine and we get closure

for the relationship because I’m getting married to another guy the next day. In another I play one-half of a couple that

does fall out of love, a married couple realizes they’ve lost what they once had,” Smith said.

The play, which will be shown one week after Valentine’s Day, will ultimately give audiences hope for their future romantic

lives said Smith.

“I think the show is hopeful, it shows that love comes to you in many totally unexpected ways. It could fall right in your

lap one day in the least expected moments and places. Love can change, it can grow with you, it can die and it can be born

again. Love is a very unpredictable thing, and that’s the number one theme of the play,” she said.