Chris Simmons, Nordonia High School's director of drama, fondly recalled performing in the romantic comedy, "Almost, Maine" when he was a student at the University of Akron, so it seemed a natural production for drama club students at Nordonia High School.

"I had a blast [performing the play at the University of Akron]," he told the News Leader. "It is a cute and funny show. This year, when we were looking for a fall play, my students wanted a comedy. So this fit into what we could do.

"We had done dinner theater murder mysteries the past eight years," he said. "The students decided to do something different."

Simmons said "Almost, Maine" is structured as nine 10-minute themes.

"There are nine small independent stories," he said.

Simmons said there is physical comedy in the play, and each scene focuses on a different relationship.

"I really enjoy the show. It is clever and well written," he said. "The way it's written, the author [John Cariani] recreates actual conversations, but they flow the way a real conversation would. It is clever and funny."

Simmons is helped out by two student assistant directors -- Hannah Beck and Sam Fujikawa.

Costume designs are handled by student Jasmine Craine and design of lights is done by student Alex Byers.

"I am directing a bunch of the scenes as well, but I've had a lot more student input than in the past," Simmons said. "But we always have a lot of students involved."

This year's cast includes Missie Bleich, Jamie Brasdovich, Nicky Dietzen, Hannah Ford, Fujikawa, Emily Greenwood, Alex Posar, Dakota Pugh, Dominic Shamblin, Madi Slayton, Kaeli Stephens, Nolan Tater and Kayleigh Wisniewski.

Simmons described the play in a press release: "On a cold, clear, moonless night in the middle of winter, all is not quite what it seems in the remote, mythical town of Almost, Maine. As the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, the residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways."

Fujikawa, a senior, described the two characters he plays, Pete and Phil, without giving away too much of the plot.

"Pete is with his high school sweetheart," he said. "He doesn't know how to respond to her. He is an awkward teenager.

"Phil and his wife go ice skating. He is almost a clueless husband, and there are problems between the two. The scene goes deeper into that."

Tater, a junior, plays Steve and Chad.

"Both deal with something they have never experienced before," he said. "Steve is more emotionless. He is learning new things about relationships.

"Chad is learning about how he feels about someone he has been close with for a long time."

Greenwood, a senior, portrays Villian and Gayle.

"Villian is a waitress at a bar," she said. "She says weird things and butts into conversations a lot.

"Gayle has a long-time boyfriend. She thinks he doesn't want to get married although she does, so she is angry."

Pugh, a senior, plays Randy and Jimmy.

"Randy is as red-neck as you can get," he said. "He talks more in layman's terms.

"Jimmy is more awkward. He is not well spoken, and he can be kind of a dunce. He is a hopeless romantic with women."

Performances of "Almost, Maine" are Oct. 28 and 29 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 30 at 3 p.m. in the Nordonia High School auditorium. Including the intermission, the play is slightly more than 90 minutes.

Tickets, which are general admission, are $10 for adults and $5 for students. To order tickets or for more information on the drama club, go to www.nordoniadrama.com.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9432