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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Elements of Theater club steps into a new element of performing live

Shodd Rivers ‘25 and Gianna Calligy ‘23 during dress rehearsal for their performance of Almost, Maine. PHOTO: KELLY SHANNON ‘24/THE HAWK

Eager for their first ever live performance, student-founded theater organization, Elements of Theater, prepares to perform John Cariani’s 2004 play “Almost, Maine” on Dec. 2 in McNeil Science and Technology Center on the University City campus. 

“Almost, Maine” consists of nine short vignettes that are all focused around the central themes of love and loss. It follows a total of nineteen different characters, exploring their navigation of relationships. 

Liang Ren ’25, who has four parts throughout the play, believes that the nature of these different vignettes paired with the dedication of cast and crew is what makes this show so special.

“A lot of effort has already been put into this, and the people who are working on this are incredible,” Ren said. “It’s just one of those interesting, different takes on storytelling that I think people, if given the chance, will enjoy.” 

Liang Jun Ren ‘25 and Ellie Quedenfeld ’27 rehearsing a scene about mending a broken heart. PHOTO: KELLY SHANNON ’24/THE HAWK

According to Gianna Calligy ’23, president and founder of Elements of Theater, the group of actors and actresses does not need a big stage to captivate the audience. 

“We’re working with a very, very interesting theatrical space because it’s a lecture hall, but I think that adds to the nature of the show,” Calligy said. “We’re kind of dealing with our limited budget and what we had. I think that makes it even more fun and engaging, especially for members of the campus community.” 

Treasurer Shodd Rivers ’23 looks forward to audience members having the opportunity to explore and experience the emotional rollercoaster of the play. 

“It’s gonna be great, because you can see people fall in love and out of love,” Rivers said. “There’s some jokes in there, some hidden metaphors, some secret messages, some puns. So while you’re going to be crying, you’re also going to be laughing as well.”

Shodd Rivers ‘25 is the Treasurer of the Elements of Theater club. PHOTO: KELLY SHANNON ’24/ THE HAWK

While there is the overarching theme of love threaded throughout each vignette, each scene has its own characters and plots which keeps the audience intrigued. 

“They’re all related to romance and relationships in one way or another, but I think each one has its own message,” Calligy said. “I think they also, in a lot of ways, reflect the nature of how relationships change over time, and they use magic realism to convey what those messages are.”

According to Rivers, Elements of Theater also has their own message they are trying to convey to the audience regarding their talents. 

“Even though we are the science subset of St. Joe’s, we still have the liberal arts part inside of us,” Rivers said. “Even though we know what CH3O2 is, we also know what upstage and downstage are.” 

Calligy encourages students to come to the show on Dec. 2 to feel the love and energy that comes with the art of performing.  

“You create this really special experience with the audience that only ever happens once, and I really enjoy that,” Calligy said. “You know that every show will have something different happen in it, and it’ll create a different energy, and people will take away different things. I just love the temporary beauty of theater.”

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Hannah Madeya
Hannah Madeya, Features Editor
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