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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Actors prepare for upcoming production

Alex Hoben/The Collegian East, played by SE student Zachary Donelson, snatches a pouch with broken pieces from Glory, played by SE student Lily Clouse.

Jose Romero

Director Drew Hampton instructed Lily Clouse and Zachary Donelson to change up a scene so it reads better for the audience. It’s a common practice in theater, but this was the first time in over a year that a physical audience would be present.

SE’s theater production “Almost, Maine” will be the return of in-person performance for the department Nov. 4 and Nov. 5, and admission is “Pay What You Can.” All proceeds will go to the drama scholarship fund. The performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the C.A. Roberson Theater, but the box office will open one hour before.

The production is about the residents of a fictional place called Almost, Maine. Each one finds themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected, humorous ways. The cast is made up of eight actors playing multiple roles. Donelson will play Randy, Dave and East while Clouse plays Glory and Marci.

“Honestly, it feels natural and quite wonderful to get back to the intended state of live theater,” Hampton said.

He said he has prioritized the safety of the cast and crew. For example, he reimagined some scenes to be socially distanced.

“With that said, the heart and humor of the play are both as robust as ever,” he said.

Clouse has been doing theater since she was 10 years old. She said she took a break from it in high school, so this is the first time she’s back in a show in several years.

The last time she was in a production was in the eighth grade, and she said it’s nerve wracking.

“Starting to do it again, I was scared I lost my touch or something, but it’s also been really comforting,” she said. “I feel like I’m back where I’m supposed to be.”

Donelson was a theater tech in high school, but this is his first production as an actor. He used similar vocabulary to describe his time acting in “Almost, Maine” as Clouse did. He said it’s been amazing, and he has genuinely enjoyed working with everyone.

“Lily, for example, is a really great scene partner,” he said.

Donelson shares the nervous feeling Clouse described. It’s all been a learning experience for him, but one of the best he’s had, he said.

Hampton said planning is key for a production like this.

“Part of live theater is that there’s a hard deadline,” he said. “Opening night is going to happen. The audience will be there, so things have to be ready, and each element of the production gets ready at a different point.”

The production has a lot of elements, and he said there’s a detailed process to ensure everything is ready promptly. Actors need to memorize lines, costumes have to be prepared, the furniture has to be selected and all the technical hurdles have to be overcome like the projection system.

The sense of community within the theater is something Clouse loves about it. She said in every show she’s been in, she always gets close to the cast.

Donelson agreed with her and said he loves being a character.

“I love making others laugh, cry and other things like that in a way that other people don’t really get the chance to do,” Donelson said.

Donelson and Clouse both nervously laughed when discussing how close opening night is.

“Pressure is definitely there,” Donelson said.

He stared at Clouse, chuckling, awaiting her input, then Clouse said she’s been thinking about it as being weeks away. But now that she realizes it’s closer, she’s nervous but excited.

“I have a lot of people that I know and care about that are coming to see it,” Clouse said. “My mom is also really excited. She never shuts up about it.”

Donelson said it’s surreal how close opening night is. They began planning and training for the production in September. However, the closer it gets, the more confident he feels about it.

“For those that come to the show, thank you in advance for supporting live theatre and the drama department at Southeast,” Hampton said.

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