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      SLICE OF NORMALCY by Sean Bartlett

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      Although I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to "crawl into another man's skin and walk around in it," community theater offers more than just that opportunity. It also offers community.

      That opportunity for connection and interdependence is even more critical in this age of isolation, fear, divisiveness, and disengagement. While the political, economic, and world health storms crashed around us, the cast of ALMOST, MAINE found that common humanity in the act of producing a play - despite all of the chaos around us. It was refreshing.

      While it was weird to be backstage with people wearing masks and trying to maintain social distancing (which meant one cast member might wander back amongst the tools in the shop area, another might go outside, or yet another would go back over to the HG House, ...), we also saw each other and talked. We talked. Despite political differences (Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and a few who I think consider "politics" a worse word to echo backstage than MACBETH) we found the opportunity to talk about a wide variety of topics including family, education, addiction, animals (also family for most of us), loss, video games, travel, and yes, even politics (Noyes IS running for office after all).

      In reflecting on this, I don't think COVID-19 even came up (around me anyway) other than in the context of what students will be doing in the fall and whose family members have been hospitalized.

      Despite all of the odd restrictions, it felt "Almost" normal. The connections, however, were not only very real, but also very needed .... at least they were for me. Thank you to my fellow cast mates and members of the HG family for that little slice of normalcy.

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