"Almost, Maine" sure to uplift audiences

By: Abigail Chaff

Never having seen a campus production, and being somewhat of a stage veteran myself, my expectations for Almost, Maine, I must admit, were low. However, I am happy to say that those low expectations were lifted through the roof and shattered by stellar performances and a wonderful script. First time director, Miranda Roth, has true talent with the stage. Almost, Maine is a series of separate love stories tied together by a small town, and what turns out to be a seemingly magical phenomenon, the northern lights. Each scene tells a brief story of different couple’s triumphs, and failures in love.

When I walked into the theater, I was at first confused with the set up. The audience is actually seated on stage, up close and personal with the actors. The red leveled platform on which the performance takes place is simple, and the lack of scenery throughout lets the characters truly come out and speak for themselves. Even with such simplicity, everything ties in together. Roth made the brilliant decision of positioning the audience and actors on the same level, bringing home the ongoing theme of closeness and love; it lets the audience enter the world of Almost, Maine. When I spoke with some of the cast the feeling was unanimous that this set up brought an unparallel energy to the show. Tara Sudon, who plays Marce and Sandrine, said “Being so close to the audience brings intimacy and a personal feeling to the characters and their stories.” Truer words could not be said. By the end of the show I felt a connection with each character I may not have if I was seated far off from the action.

Each scene deals with a different aspect of love. Any person watching the show can find a situation they can relate to. The production touches on fear of love, lost chances, best friends realizing their true feelings, and misunderstood love to just name a few. The play opens slowly, without a clear direction, but quickly picks up the pace. The audience is taken on a journey of highs and lows, hilarity and heartache. When speaking with the actors, all agreed that they drew on their personal experiences to bring life to each character. Every situation reminded me of one I have been through or helped a friend deal with. This strong human aspect of such a segmented show speaks to the talent of director Roth.

After seeing this production, I was left with a true feeling of happiness. Even the more somber tales hit home in a way that felt positive. Rosilyn Jentner, who plays Rhonda and Villian, said after seeing the show she hopes the audience is reminded to “Be happy, smile. Remember moments in your lives of falling in or out of love, and remember it fondly.” All that visit Almost, Maine will most certainly leave with a smile on their face and a sense that love is all around us; sometimes difficult, there is always a bright side. This show is uplifting and, as simply said as the show is itself, well done.