Characters Collide in 'Almost, Maine'
It’s that time of year again: the Niagara University Theatre Department is about to debut its first production of the season, “Almost, Maine.”
“Almost, Maine,” written by John Cariani and directed by Niagara University Director of Theatre Gregory Fletcher, takes place in the tiny fictional town of Almost, Maine.
“By the end of the play, you get a sense of community of living in Almost, Maine,” says Fletcher.
Fletcher says that several of the characters are feeling isolated and alone, and then they suddenly collide with each other and a romance begins.
“If it can happen in Almost, it can happen anywhere,” says Fletcher.
Sophomore theatre performance major Richard Cole plays Easton, who is a man in his late 20’s and is having a difficult time of finding the right person in such a small town.
“Then he notices a woman on his lawn and begins to connect with her. He soon learns that he has strong feelings for her, and this changes his personality,” says Cole.
“The characters all struggle with very real conflict, yet the playwright uses metaphors literally, such as turning love and hearts into objects you can hold and carry with you, and visually showing emotional issues as well as hints of fate,” says senior theatre performance major and communications minor Justin Mitchell Krall.
Cast members Alissa Sumerano, a freshman theatre performance major, and junior theatre performance major Mary Boatman describe “Almost, Maine” as a show that everyone could enjoy and relate to.
“Bring a box of tissues and a belly full of laughs, because you’ll need it,” says Boatman.
“ ‘Almost, Maine’ is so different because it is so real,” says John Woodley, who plays Lendall, a man who has yet to propose to his girlfriend of 11 years. “It has love, pain, humor, and so much more that everyone has experienced.”
Fletcher says the romantic comedy is composed of nine vignettes, or short plays, and that the show normally is performed by four actors playing multiple roles. For this production, 19 people were cast in order to give more students an opportunity to practice what they learned in class.
“It gives a much fuller education,” says Fletcher.
“What makes (the show) unique is that the characters each have their own little scenes and never physically interact with other characters,” says sophomore theatre performance major Andrew Adolf.
“The characters do, however, all know each other, so even though they don’t directly speak to each other, we have to work on building a strong sense of community within the play,” says Krall.
The curtain opens on “Almost, Maine” on Thursday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. in the new Elizabeth Ann Clune Center for Theatre in Clet Hall. Show times and dates are Oct. 7 at 7 p.m.; Oct. 1, 2, 8-9 at 7 p.m.; and Oct. 3 and 9 at 2 p.m. Tickets are free for Niagara students (with student ID cards) and can be obtained from the box office Monday through Friday from 2:30-3:30 p.m. and one hour prior to the production.