By his own admission, drama tugs at the heart of Corey Quinn, the Mountain Pointe biology teacher and alumnus who directs some Mountain Point Theatre Company productions.
“I’m pretty famous for picking dramatic shows that are darker or tell a more historical story,” he said. “Comedies have always been a challenge.”
Quinn has accepted the challenge with the next production, “Almost Maine.”
The highly acclaimed play will be presented at 6 p.m. Nov. 3 and at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Nov. 4 at Mountain Pointe, 4201 E. Knox Road, Ahwatukee.
Though it is billed as a “romantic comedy,” the play can be viewed as more complex than typical comedic fare.
When it debuted in 2013, the New York Times called it “a series of nine amiably absurdist vignettes about love, with a touch of good-natured magic realism.
“This is a beautifully structured play, with nifty surprise endings (most, but not all of them, happy) …it is just as much about pain,” the review said.
Quinn appreciates the irony of his choice.
“Whenever I mention that I am doing a show about love, I usually get a strange look,” he said. “I completely understand how strange it seem that I chose a show labeled as a ‘romantic comedy.’ But, I think that this show is a more complete view of the idea of love.
“It approaches the idea of love from multiple view points and angles. It takes the good and the bad, and places in front of an audience that is fun, odd and in some ways appealing.”
Quinn said he finds the concept of love “quite mysterious, humorous and sometimes even rude.”
“As a director, I chose a show that will make everyone on and off the stage stop and think,” he said.
“It should be the kind of show that you still want to think about on the ride home from the theater because it captured your imagination. And most importantly, it should leave you wanting to come back for more.”
The play approaches love from nine different angles.
Some are surrealistic in a way, as with the woman who carries the 19 pieces of her broken heart in a bag or the man who shrinks to half his size after losing hope of love.
“I think it is a neat idea to tell multiple strange and funny tales that make us really evaluate what being in love is,” Quinn said.
He said the audience should expect to relate in personal ways to some of the tales, even those reflecting ideas of love that “are pushed to the edge of ridiculousness.”
“They still should remind the audience of that time they once felt excitement when they loved, or the pain when they realized love was lost,” Quinn said.
“There are stories of regret, loneliness, awkwardness and even love on levels that some of us never knew existed. Love is a fickle creature, and we can embrace it for what it is – confusing.”
The production itself involves about 60 students between the cast and the crew.
And because it involves nine tales that occur during a single cold night in Maine, it imposes considerable demands. But Quinn said his acting troupe and stage crew will come through with flying colors.
“The kids worked very hard, and I am very proud of them,” he said.
Student cast members are Ethan Bryant, Rhianon Malloy, Jamon Pritchett, Lindsey Hudak, Jarod Adams, Allie Konczak, Nicole Swatton, Jaylah Alston, Mehta Siddhat, Alayjah Marcelin, Cory Drozkowski, Jeff Maples, Grant Cunningham, Will Patti, Savannah Groll, Chloe Kuznia, Ruben Ayala, Cassie Presume and Kendrick Horton.
The crew includes technical director Nemo Wright as well as Quinn Rupp, Tyler Ayala, Stephanie Boudrie, Phoenix Evans, Jasly Gonzalez, Suzzette Olivia, Taryn Collins, Noah Butler, Dennis Clayton, Shaun Johnson, Jacob Lemos, Spencer Reed, Michael Richards, Jack Rupp, Lexi Powers;
Also, Teresa Chavez, Mikaela Romo, Alex Suda, Janae Jessie, Lexi Artusa-Sirota, Darla Norby, Addie Harvey, Mackenzie Spencer, Ali Adelis, Mia Lupercio, A’Shayla Anderson, Julianne Porter, Lexi Rodriguez, Taylor Simmons, Jaiden Wester-Stiltz, Savannah Mendez, Savanna Camp, Claire Cunningham and Erin Greenfield.