With help from writer, students take on love in Almost, Maine

With+help+from+writer%2C+students+take+on+love+in+Almost%2C+Maine

Phil (Wyn Stopford) showing his wife Marci (Rachel Ellerson) a planet that he believes to be a star. This serves as further proof to Ellerson that her husband does not pay adequate attention to anything, especially her.

Tessa Peierls, Åssistant News Editor

Almost, Maine, a play composed of a series of interconnected one-acts about love, is a beautiful comedy that left audience members cheering.   The play took place Nov. 20-23 on the Schreiber stage and was directed by Ms. Christine Nelson and produced by Ms. Lauren Foster-Holzer.  Senior Ariel Waldman served as assistant director.
“I think that people who didn’t know the show were a little wary about the choice because it’s very different from the other shows we’ve done recently, but people who knew the show were really excited,” said Waldman.  “Once we did the read-through, everyone realized that this was something special and got excited.  The excitement kept going because everyone only came for their scene and didn’t see everyone else for months so it was really fun to see how the scenes looked next to each other, when the time came.”
The cast was lucky enough to be visited by writer John Cariani, who discussed the characters and inspired the cast.  His visit paid off, as each cast member was able to take his suggestions to heart and transform themselves into the characters that created a unique and hilarious show.
The only characters to be in multiple scenes opened and closed the show, creating a sense of unity.  Sophomore Sarah DeMarino and Junior Evan Gilmore played Ginette and Pete, respectively, a shy couple that tied the play together.  Their scenes were short but important in introducing the theme of love.  Both actors captured the awkward innocence of the relationship in a sweet and comical way.
Sophomore Christian Hill and junior Alexandra DeAngelis played Easton and Glory in the act “Her Heart.”  The scene started off  convolutedly as DeAngelis’ character showed up in Easton’s yard clutching a bag, but all was revealed in a neat monologue by Glory, who explained that her broken heart was inside the bag.  This scene also showcased an incredible set that took the audience by surprise.  The curtain detailed with lights was on full display and brought the audience into the starry night.  The Aurora Borealis projected onto the ceiling of the auditorium stunned attendees.
“Sad and Glad” charmed the audience in the beginning with its light humor and won the audience over with its hopeful, albeit cliché, ending.  Senior Jesse Epstein played Jimmy, a heating and cooling guy who learns that his ex, played by freshman Sarah Mannix, is getting married.  Freshman Isabelle Verdino played the waitress with whom Jimmy seemed fated to end up with.  Although the female cast members were both freshmen and thus did not have as much experience on the Schreiber stage as other cast members, both were fully dedicated to their characters and kept the audience’s attention.
The third scene had the audience in hysterics over the well-staged and realistic physical comedy.  The reference to the concept “love hurts” was startling, when Steve, played by junior Jordan Youner, was hit in the head multiple times with an ironing board.  Aside from the scare, “This Hurts” was a sweet scene that brought sophomore Anna Cohen to the front, where she captured the funny and bold character Marvalyn perfectly.
Seniors Wyn Stopford and Laynie Calderwood closed Act I with a bang in “Getting it Back.” Calderwood put humor into Gayle, who demanded a physical representation of her love back from her long time boyfriend, Lendall (Stopford).  When Lendall gave Gayle an engagement ring, he won the audience’s hearts and brought the mood up from the previous slightly chilly scenes.  The scene was poignant and humorous, leaving the audience wanting more.
Senior Oren Barasch and sophomore Christian Hill played Randy and Chad in “They Fell,” which focuses on two friends who start to “fall” for each other, literally and figuratively.  While the metaphor was very obvious and somewhat silly, the scene was well-acted, and Barasch and Hill handled the scene well.
“Went” contrasted with most of the other scenes because of its focus more on lost love than growing love.  Phil and Marci, played by seniors Wyn Stopford and Rachel Ellerson, were a married couple who were no longer happy with each other.  Marci spoke of the difficulty of being in such an emotional scene.
“It could be a little painful at times since it really is such a horrible thing to go through no matter what the circumstances may be. As an actress I try to find the emotions for the characters I play within myself, and accessing those emotions can be difficult at times and even hurt,” said Ellerson.  “I really enjoyed the experience though and ended up learning a lot about theater and myself.”
While this scene was less motivational and left a melancholy aftertaste, it was an important scene in the show that the cast did not shy away from.  The   vibrant acting in “Where it Went” truly captured the attention of those watching.
Senior Elizabeth Muratore and freshman Jack Gilsenan won the audience with a great performance of one of the more awkward scenes, “Story of Hope.”  Muratore played Hope, a woman who traveled the world only to come back to the man she had left years ago.  Gilsenan played a man who turned out to be the same man Hope had left.  While Hope’s chattiness and the general melancholic tone of the scene could have been off-putting, Muratore’s genuine and honest interpretation of Hope stole the audience’s hearts.
The final scene had the audience rolling on the floor. Seniors Megan Poulos and Oren Barasch delivering each line with perfect comedic timing.  Poulos’ character Rhonda, a tough woman, cannot understand the painting Dave made for her.  The audience later found out that the drawing was of a simple heart, a foreign object in Rhonda’s mind.  Poulos in particular drew everyone’s attention with her bold choices and physical acting.
Almost, Maine was praised by students.  Senior Haley Sambursky discussed the highlights.
“I was astounded,” said Sambursky.  “The whole production came together really nicely.  It was funny, it was serious, the acting was great, and the sets were gorgeous.  It was a really nice show “