Despite its notoriety for being the home of snow storms, small towns and isolation from the rest of the United States, Bradley’s latest play almost made me want to move to Maine.
“Almost, Maine” is a romantic comedy centered on a variety of characters, performed by a cast of only six people. The cast was excellent in executing their performances, playing three to four different roles each.
The play brought the audience to the unincorporated, unorganized town of Almost, Maine, on a wintery Friday night. Eight different sticky love situations unfolded, supposedly taking place at the same time throughout the town.
The backdrop for the scenes was the Northern Lights, flickering with different shades of emotion as the characters had realizations of their own.
Kudos to the stagehands on the creation of the Northern Lights. The lights broke off into various pathways across the Hartmann Center walls and ceiling. They twinkled and glimmered at the end of the characters’ revelations, capturing the metaphors behind each scene that played out.
In fact, metaphor was a driving force behind all of the passages. In the scene “Her Heart,” Glory, a damaged girl on a mission played by Chloe Dzielak, shares her story of why she keeps her shattered heart in a tote bag. In the end, East, Almost’s local repairman played by John Carrol, took the liberty of fixing her heart, and won it along the way.
Cute, yes. Charming, definitely. It may be a little cliché, but it works. That was not the only “aw”-worthy moment of the play.
In the scene “Getting it Back,” love is converted into a material object. Five large bags of “love” are thrown across the stage. In the end, the bumbling boyfriend Lendall, also played by Carrol, gives his girlfriend, played by Krystal Uhl, all of his love in a very tiny box. Inside was an engagement ring, yet another endearing metaphor in the play.
Saccharine scenes weren’t the only ones in “Almost, Maine”. Act II consisted of some tense scenarios, including a man’s confession of love for his best buddy and a couple’s fight following an attempt to rekindle their marriage.
My personal favorite scene wasn’t one of the lovey-dovey ones, rather a more depressing one called “Story of Hope.” The monologue of the character named Hope, also played by Dzielak, was extremely moving and heartfelt. It was easy to feel a connection with her, was a nice change of pace from the other passages and the actors executed their roles to a tee.
“Almost, Maine” was enjoyable from start to finish, and the eight different scenes created a diverse take on love and, well, loss of love. Every cast member was devoted to their roles, and it showed. The Northern Lights were a nice, symbolic touch too.
In all, the play proved that true love is evident, even in the small town of Almost.
With that in mind, it’s easy for me to think about Maine as my spring break destination. If only I knew where the town of Almost was.