On Sept. 29, 2022, fourth-year theater and journalism student Daigs Daigneault held a table read for his upcoming play “Face Value.” The purpose of the table read was for a collection of actors to read out the script to hear how it sounds and get feedback on what could be improved. It was interesting to observe the bare bones of a play in the making, but from what was read aloud that night, the play has potential.
“Face Value” is a play about Tim Sheapard, the main character, and him trying to propose to his long-time girlfriend. I wrote it specifically modeling the sitcoms of the late 90s, early 2000s. With the intention that I wanted it to be accessible to anybody, by modeling after these sitcoms that everyone is familiar with, it allows people to get introduced to theater in an easier way,” Daigneault said.
Daigneault has been writing this play since December of 2021. He admits that it is not perfect and hopes that the table read helps work out some kinks. By the end of act two, the audience’s reaction to the play gave him just that.
“Face Value” is an example of a Maine Masque chosen production. The Maine Masque is one of the oldest collegiate theater groups in the country. It is a student-led organization that hosts events throughout the year.
“Every year the Maine Masque council puts out an application for students to put on a show. Anyone can apply at the university. They have a pitch meeting with the Maine Masque council. The Maine Masque council then decides who is most likely to successfully produce a show,” Daigneault said.
The play only has five characters, each with relatable dialogue that encompasses a series of events that could only happen in a sitcom. The table read for this production proved that for dialogue to be effective, the actor has to work with their fellow castmates to get the specific inflection that makes the joke stick. What was sad to see was that while the jokes were there, at some points they were not effectively delivered. However, the play has a long way to go before its performance date.
“Face Value” resembles the outline of comedy sitcoms such as “New Girl” or “Seinfeld.” The wacky, relatable characters are automatically loveable and equally as chaotic. Lines such as “How long does it take to make spaghetti?” and “Plan B is to sell my body” are moments that anyone in their early 20s have muttered to themselves at some moment. The subtle innuendos add the perfect amount of humor to the stressful plot. To add even more chaos, two actors were told to read lines (that they were viewing for the first time) simultaneously. They pulled it off great for a first-time reading, and it is something that will be entertaining to watch and see more of in the final production.
What made the play intriguing was the stage directions describing what was going on. It drew interest into what the actual full-fledged production will look like and how effective the cues will be if they are not being read aloud.
Overall, the table read was entertaining and easy to follow. It advertises itself as a modern play and I look forward to seeing what approach the rehearsal phase decides to take on the road to showtime.
“[You] don’t have to think about it too hard, you can just take it at Face Value,” Daigneault said.
The play is scheduled to be performed in February 2023. It will run for a weekend. Daigneault will be holding auditions for the roles of his play sometime in December. Daigneault has expressed the need for more people to be involved in the production.
“What I mostly want is for people to get involved with the show, even if that means just coming to see the show in February. It is always rewarding to see people acknowledge that and come out to see the show,” Daigneault said.
People can still apply by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or finding information posted in the Class of 1944 Hall. Be on the lookout for more information about “Face Value” around campus and on social media.