Why should the star-crossed lovers of a midsummer night have all the fun?
The Darien Players are bringing John Cariani's "Almost Maine" to the Darien Arts Center Weatherstone Studio for three weekends, beginning Friday through Sunday, through March 25 and 26. Organizers are hopeful Cariani will make it to the 25th performance and a possible post-show question-and-answer session.
In this tale of loves lost and found, the inhabitants of the fictional town of Almost, Maine, experience a taste of magic on a midwinter evening as the northern lights fill the sky.
"This is a very beautiful, very compelling and very emotional" piece, said director Carin Zakes of Port Chester, N.Y. "It has a lot of these magical moments."
The two-act story is told through unique vignettes that are intertwined in the end.
"They are all stories about love," Zakes said. "They are a tad mystical, but they are so universal that everyone will be able to relate to them."
This performance also will have original music by Broadway composer and conductor Keith Levenson of Pound Ridge, N.Y. His credits include "Annie," "Grease" and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."
Nine actors -- five men and four women from throughout Fairfield and Westchester counties -- do double-duty in this play, since it calls for 19 roles.
"It's really challenging for the actors," said Zakes, who is at the helm of her third Darien production. She directed "Six Degrees of Separation" in 2007 and "Getting Away with Murder," in 2009.
Many of the actors also have behind-the-scenes roles, such as set design.
"This is really the best of community theater," said Ann Peterson of Port Chester, N.Y. In addition to acting, she is helping with the marketing. "Everyone is doubling up. We all have two or three jobs."
The fact that the production has been staged around the world, including Dubai and South Korea, did not surprise Peterson.
"It resonates with people of all ages; no matter where they live."
The Darien Arts Center's Weatherstone Studio is at 2 Renshaw Road, Darien. Friday, Saturday, March 11-12, 18-19, 25-26. 8 p.m.; Sunday March 13, 20 2 p.m. $20; $15 students, seniors. Reservations: 203-655-6414, www.arts.darien.org.