by Allen Ortiz
Mount Saint Mary College Theatre presented “Almost, Maine” on April 10, 11, and 12. The play, written by Jon Cariani and directed by Professor James Phillips, is a series of sketches—some comic, some dramatic—that revolve around the theme of love.
It featured sixteen young cast members playing various roles. Although the play takes place during a cold Maine winter, the production offered many heartwarming moments, along with a bunch of laughs.
The play consists of nine stories, all focusing on different characters in the town of Almost, Maine, on what appears to be the same night. The main theme of each sketch is love and how it can drastically affect anyone’s life; but the play defines love in a much more literal way.
For example, in the opening scene, a girl named Ginette (played by freshman Breanna Cooney) and her boyfriend Pete (played by junior William Biersack), sit on a park bench; Ginette snuggles up to Pete, whom the audiences assumes is her boyfriend. As Ginette begins to tell him how much she likes being close to him, Pete points out how far they are in reality. Ginette begins stepping farther and farther away from Pete, who says she’s getting closer to him with each step she takes, but in reality, he ends up sitting completely alone on the bench.
“Almost, Maine” did an excellent job in examining those awkward moments love entails. One of the funnier moments came when two masculine friends are hanging out and drinking beer while discussing their not-so-great experiences with romantic relationships.
As the two friends, Chad (played by junior Alexander Florez) and Randy (played by freshman Joe Certa), talk of their unfortunate, but rather humorous, experiences, they soon realize they are each other’s true loves. In what is the literal interpretation of the term “falling in love,” the two best friends continue to fall backwards as they try to rush near each other for what may be a warm embrace.
The set, though simple, was effective and well-lit, but what really elevated the atmosphere was the audiences’ close proximity to the action. Phillips sat the audience on stage, close to the actors, due to the large space in between the stage and the actual seating in Aquinas Theatre. This made the play more personal and submerged the audience into what was happening throughout each scene.
Often throughout the play, the actors called attention to the large Maine night sky that was glowing with the Northern Lights. It was very nice to see the night sky recreated in the backdrop.
As each scene faded, vocalist Carrie Victoria would sing a different love song that would lead into the next scene. Each song, which was played acoustically on guitar, would perfectly foreshadow the next scene. Victoria sang a cover of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” before Chad and Randy’s scene mentioned earlier.
Overall, “Almost, Maine” was absolutely worth watching. It was well produced, directed, cast, designed, and performed. Honestly, if you didn’t get to see it, you really missed out on an entertaining play that makes you think about how important love is in life and how everyone seems to have very similar, yet different experiences with it.