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INDIANA: Musical marks drama teacher's farewell

by LORRAINE YERGER, Gazette Student News Reporter on April 26, 2013 11:00 AM

Once again, the Indiana Area Senior High School’s drama department will light up the stage for their final production of the school year.

At 8 p.m. today and Saturday, the auditorium will play host to a whimsical play detailing a collection of complicated, intertwining romances set in the town of Almost, Maine.

In this uniquely composed drama titled “Almost, Maine,” a small set of stars dominate the spotlight, with supporting actors and actresses surrounding them.

The play is split into nine separate, smaller love stories, each equally featured and each character equally important.

Junior Frannie Hanna, who plays the role of Gayle in the section titled “Getting it Back,” commented, “‘Almost Maine’ is an extremely well-written play. It is not sappy or melodramatic. You will not regret watching this performance.”

“(The play) is split up into nine different scenes, and each scene is a story of its own with occasional references to other plots,” said Dalton Bright, a senior cast member who is depicting one-ninth of the performance’s love story in the role of Randy in the section titled “They Fell.”

This larger crop of cast and characters provides for an engaging play, as each actor truly personifies their role and the audience is presented with an expanded set of developed characters.

Though the 2013 drama department’s performance is bound to be another success, a sense of melancholy settles over the Thespian Troupe.

Gretchen Barbor, English teacher and longtime theater director, plans to retire after her long and rewarding career at Indiana. In her time at the high school, Barbor has led the drama students to Scotland and back, not to mention widely enjoyed performances here at home in Indiana.

Junior Paul Kane, who has become a regular on Barbor’s stage, commented, “Mrs. Barbor has had such a profound and positive impact on the community and the lives of students who were fortunate enough to experience her program that it is nearly impossible to put in words how much she’s accomplished.

“This incredible drama department our school has wouldn’t be here today without her skills, dedication and talents.”

The play is described by cast and crew as a “no-frills” production, with minimal props and set construction to focus on the acting itself.

Though Northern Lights, snow and Christmas trees make an appearance on stage, the play mostly relies on its characters to capture the attention of the audience. This ethereal romance uses silence to emphasize emotional moments.

“It’s simple, but elegant,” adds Bright, describing the visual style of the performance.

Bright and other cast members look forward to the audience’s reaction to several scenes from the play, as this original storyline pushes boundaries in both delightful and entertaining ways.

This attention-grabbing performance encompasses a large portion of Indiana’s theater students, bringing talented actors and actresses into the spotlight.

Though “Almost, Maine” marks the end to the career of their valued drama director, the students of Indiana Area Senior High School and Indiana’s community are in for a treat by attending this intertwining, many-faceted love story.

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