It seems appropriate that on the one-year anniversary of the emergence of COVID-19 in Maine, we would have a play about loss – and hope.

The Footlights Theatre in Falmouth presents “Seasons in the Sun” though March 27. Executive artistic director Michael J. Tobin wrote the play in 2014 after his mother died and he got into the habit of visiting her gravestone. While there, he befriended other people who were visiting the gravestones of their loved ones. “We just started talking about their lives, and developed a friendship,” he said.

Tobin said he was inspired to write the play based on that experience. In his fictional play, the people who visit the gravestones fall in love and find happiness. “Seasons in the Sun” felt like a hopeful message people might appreciate during a time of reflection and loss, he said. “It’s very cathartic,” Tobin said, “and a reminder that we have to be open to possibilities.”

Jackie Oliveri and Victoria Machado stars in “Seasons in the Sun” at the Footlights Theatre in Falmouth. Photo courtesy of Footlights Theatre

The play stars Jackie Oliveri, Mark Hazard and Victoria Machado.

Tobin closed his theater last March with the onset of the pandemic and reopened in July. “Seasons in the Sun” will be the eighth live play he has presented during that time. It’s been an adventure and a struggle, he said. The theater can accommodate 25 people. Some houses have sold out, but many have been sparse. To save money, Tobin is producing plays that he has written or other playwrights have given him permission to produce, so he doesn’t have to pay performance royalties. Those can run close to $400 per weekend.

“I am still being quoted exactly what I was paying for rights before the pandemic, and I am just not able to pay it,” he said. “So we are producing our own shows. That has saved us, and it falls into our mission of producing new work.”

He will present a new play by Alice Horton called “Wrong Turn at Romance” beginning April 8, and on May 6, he opens a comedy he wrote, “That’s What SHE Said!”

“We have made a commitment that we are going to keep doing what we are doing through May, and then we’ll see where we are,” he said. He will pause and rest in June, then launch a summer season in July – he hopes with larger audiences, fewer restrictions and a return to closer to normal.

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