BRUNSWICK, Maine — As Maine State Music Theatre in Brunswick kicks off its 2023 season with the musical “Titanic,” one thing is clear. People won’t be going to the show to find out how the story ends.
“Everybody knows what happens in this play. Unless, maybe, you’re six years old,” says director and choreographer Marc Robin.
From day one, that awareness of the audience’s built-in knowledge shaped his approach to telling the story.
“We didn’t want to concentrate on how are we going to sink a ship. We wanted to concentrate on how are we going to get you to care about who’s on that ship,” Robin said.
The production features ambitious visual effects rarely seen in Maine, and Robin is quick to give high praise to the set, lighting, and video designers who created them.
In the opening sequence of the play, for instance, the audience will see a three-dimensional ship being built right before their eyes on stage.
“I cried the first time I saw it,” Robin says, “Because it was beyond anything I thought.”
That’s a telling reaction from someone with a wealth of theatrical experience. A few years ago, when updating his resume, Robin stopped to count the number of productions he’s directed in his career. His best guess? More than 450.
For him, this production of “Titanic” stands near the summit.
“It’s in my top ten plays of all time,” he says. “And I’m uberly proud of it.”