College of Engineering talks love in 'Almost, Maine'

College of Engineering talks love in 'Almost, Maine'

Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons

The pressures of a rigorous major like engineering can make it hard to participate in extracurricular activities. One campus organization called College of Engineering Does Amateur Radical Theatre is seeking to offer students an alternative from an arts-free college experience.

This past week, the organization (also known as COE Does Art), which is open to all majors, presented the student-produced rendition of the play “Almost, Maine.”

Written by John Cariani, this play is a composition of nine short romantic vignettes, some ending tragically, and others in a more optimistic light. The production was directed by senior journalism major Jessi Davis, who touched on the play’s themes.

“’There are eight different scenes that are all different stories of love,” Davis said. "It all takes place at exactly the same time and it is just this cute little story about [how] love can be many different things to different people.”

Jeremy Server, a sophomore chemical engineering major and the technical leader of the show, stylized a basic set to concur with the different story lines. 

“Most of the vignettes take place outside, so we kept it as a generic outside setting,” Server said. “It is supposed to be in a park where most have a park bench or nothing to sit on at all. Only two of them take place inside, so for the convenience of both the cast and for me, we have kept it all as a nighttime outside setting.”

Server strived to maintain the outdoors effect of the setting.

“To do this, we have the three flats that we had to paint to have an outside setting,” Server said. “We have laid snow everywhere to give the effect, and we have a park bench and a couple of other pieces of furniture that are moved both on and off the set to give each scene a slightly different feeling.”

Due to the numerous roles and limited cast size, the students had to get creative when it came to rehearsals. 

“Some of the characters are vastly different, and the scenes are significantly different,” said Samantha Sullivan, a sophomore electrical engineering major and president of the organization. “That is the cool thing, which even if you have some similarities, their being in different situations makes it easy to play out different things about them.”

Sullivan, also an actress in the play, said the story also incorporated a more sincere, rather than satirical, take on romance.

“I read it and I like it because it is sweet and it is not cynical at all,” Sullivan said.

Liam McGarry is another student acting in the play.

“For instance, the first guy I play is quiet and shy, and the other is loud and the boisterous stereotypical tough guy,” McGarry said. “It is always fun to be given lines to read through all the different parts and to try to come up with who the character is and apply the character to those lines.”

The show ran on both Wednesday and Saturday of the past week in the Ferguson Theater. For those interested in viewing more plays by the Engineering department, they collaborate for similar events every semester. 

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