MOUNT DESERT — For the first time in its 48-year history, Acadia Repertory Theatre is presenting a show in Somesville in the winter months. Becky Mode’s “Fully Committed” showcases the versatility and energy of Mount Desert Island native Mary Paola as she portrays 32 distinct characters. Her main character, Sam, is juggling the phone line at a high-end New York City restaurant, fielding reservations, requests and outrageous demands at the height of the holiday season. Acadia Rep veteran David Blais is directing the play, which is a fast-paced mix of comedy and drama.
“With funding from a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant and from the Maine Community Foundation, we’ve been given an opportunity to try something completely new for the benefit of the Island community,” explains producing director C Andrew Mayer. “The SVOG grant enabled Acadia Rep to install heat pumps backstage and in our downstairs dressing room, opening the space for year-round use. This especially makes it possible for people who don’t have time in the summer to come enjoy a show at the Rep.”
What’s more, by highlighting a frantic day in the life of a restaurant worker, “Fully Committed” may resonate with local audience members who have experience in the service industry.
Since 1973, the nonprofit Acadia Repertory Theatre has made its home in the Masonic Hall in Somesville, located at 1154 Main Street. Mayer notes that it is part of the Masons’ mission to serve as a community gathering place. In the past, the hall hosted dances, weddings and other events. The Rep company says it is pleased to expand on its use of the building.
“The pandemic pause gave us time to think about what we might do differently,” Mayer says. “During those months, generous donations from the Maine Community Foundation, the Magnolia Foundation and more than 100 individual supporters inspired us to keep going and innovate new ways forward.”
This year marks Paola’s fifth season at the Acadia Rep. She’s a 2021 graduate of Purchase College Conservatory of Theatre Arts. “Fully Committed” showcases Paola’s range, familiar to Rep audiences as well as those who’ve attended MDI High School Drama performances.
Blais has been part of the ensemble at the Acadia Rep for the last 20 years. In 2012, he took on the lead role in the Rep’s first run of this play.
“‘Fully Committed’ was so well-received at the Acadia Rep nine years ago,” Blais said. “It’s not only a fun and laugh-inducing peek into what goes on behind the scenes in a restaurant, but it also carries a real story with some touching moments. I had a blast bringing the story to life the first time, and I’m having even more fun collaborating with the amazingly talented Mary Paola as she brings a new perspective to the 32 unique characters.”
“Fully Committed” will be performed on select dates from Dec. 9-19. Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. will be general admission on a pay-what-you-can basis. Performances on Fridays and Saturdays will be at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Ticketing for these shows is reserved, $26 for adults and $24 for seniors, students and military. Reserved tickets are available online at www.acadiarep.com. “Fully Committed” includes language and content that may not be suitable for children.
To accommodate social distancing, seating will include blocked-off rows and attenders will be seated in pods. Masks will be required throughout the show for audience members. Before entering the theater, all attenders will need to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event, along with matching photo ID. Proof of vaccination or negative test result can be either a physical vaccine card or official record, or a photo of it.
“After the year we had in 2020,” says Mayer, “I’m never taking live theater for granted again. And although we still have to take these precautions, we should all feel blessed to be here at all. I know I do.”