Almost showtime for drama club

Naugatuck High School junior Jared Aponte, left, and senior Dan Solberg rehearse a scene from the drama club’s upcoming production of ‘Almost, Maine’ Jan. 26 at the school. The play opens Feb. 5. –LUKE MARSHALL

Naugatuck High School junior Jared Aponte, left, and senior Dan Solberg rehearse a scene from the drama club’s upcoming production of ‘Almost, Maine’ Jan. 26 at the school. The play opens Feb. 5. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck High School drama club will christen the stage in the school’s new auditorium with stories of love and loss.

The club’s production of “Almost, Maine” opens Feb. 5.

The play is broken into a variety of scenes depicting relationships that each take place throughout the fictional town of Almost, Maine at exactly 9 p.m.

“It’s a challenging play this year because it is very emotional. It’s all stories of love and loss,” Director Mariah Ennis said.

Drama Club President Ellis Sadler, a sophomore, said the play sets up two types of beliefs about love: that it is doomed to end and that it will last forever.

“It plays to both, in that not everything is meant to be but some things are. It’s something everyone would understand,” Sadler said.

Ennis said she chose the play because she wanted the students to take on something more challenging.

“I knew, once I met my group of kids, they were able to do a more challenging, emotional play without having a bunch of really cheesy jokes every other line. This one is a bit more like actual theater,” Ennis said.

Ennis said the students have risen to the challenge.

“They are living up to [my expectations]. Definitely. A couple of my freshman are blowing me away. I’m surprised at how well they can just turn into someone else on stage,” said Ennis, who graduated from Naugatuck High School in 2009.

Sophomore Julia Saint Paul said rehearsals are going smoothly.

“There are those days where we had to do something else because of construction, but other than that it has been pretty good,” Saint Paul said.

“Almost, Maine” will be the first play to premiere in the high school’s newly-renovated auditorium. The auditorium was renovated as part of the school’s $81 million renovate-to-new project.

Junior Saj Sajous said having the auditorium open to the students is far better than what they had to endure previously.

“While it was under construction we would be in the cafeteria, the choir room, or even the hallways. So it was hard to get projections down. We had a lot less space to do stuff. I like the openness of it. It kind of makes it feel real,” Sajous said.

Sadler is happy that the club has a permanent home in the auditorium.

“It’s bigger than what we used to be in because we used to be in the cafeteria. It’s amazing because we have so much space to use. At the cafeteria most of our rehearsals were at lunch tables,” Sadler said.

Sajous encouraged people to come out and see all the work the students have put into the production.

“Some of our students were nervous at first, but they are starting to break out of their shells. Some of our veteran actors are getting even better than they were last year. I think it’s coming along very well. I think we will have a great show this year,” Sajous said.

The club will present “Almost, Maine” Feb. 5 and Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m. and Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $8 at the door and $5 with a donation of a canned good. All canned goods will be donated to the Naugatuck Ecumenical Food Bank.

Sajous said this play will show people the truth about love.

“If you love love you understand how hard it can be and see how this play relates to it. You can feel the happiness, the joy, and the sadness of it all. And that’s what love really is, it’s a mix of emotion you can’t untangle without destroying it,” Sajous said.