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‘Almost, Maine’ Showcases Wacky Love Stories at Wood River High
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Wednesday, September 29, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

The play is set in the town of Almost, Maine—a place that’s so far north it’s almost not in the United States. A place that doesn’t exist on any map of the state.

As one of the characters says, “To be a town, you gotta get organized. And we never got around to getting organized so we’re just…Almost.”

That said, playwright John Cariani has organized “Almost, Maine” into nine little skits that explore different facets of love from love and longing to the hilarity of love.

And the Wood River High School Drama Department will stage the play tonight through Saturday at the Wood River High School Performing Arts Theater.

The show starts at 6 p.m. tonight and Thursday, Sept. 30; at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 1-2; and at 1 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for high school students, veterans and seniors and $3 for middle and elementary students at the door.

“Almost Maine” take place on one cold, clear Friday night in the middle of winter when the Northern Lights hover in the sky and people suddenly finding themselves falling in and out of love in the strangest ways.” And those who see these skits may never look at love the same way again.

Jimmy, for instance, shows up at a bar where you can drink for free if you’re sad only to realize that the girl he wanted could have been his…but tomorrow’s her wedding day. But, wait….there’s a twist coming.

A young women, meanwhile is hesitant to give the broken heart she’s been carrying around in a sandwich bag to a repairman. Another man describes himself as suffering from a biological inability to feel pain. But when the woman he has just met accidentally whacks him in the head with her ironing board, he finds himself saying “Ouch!” for the first time in his life.

 Daniel is left a shrunken man when his Hope fails to answer his proposal of marriage. And then there’s two characters who have no preconceived notions about love only to fall—splat!--head over heels in love.

Nordstrom said he has used the Tony nominee, which is one of the most produced works in the country, in class for 10 years because it’s so easy to do small character studies with it. A group of his students staged it three summers ago as a fundraiser. And now he’s using it to set the stage for the first-in-person play before a live audience in 1 and a half years.

“I like the writing,” he said. “It’s well written, which makes the characters special.”

Nearly 40 students are involved in the production, including the Beginning Drama Class, which created a fabulous set with a snowbank, rustic shacks with woodpiles and a kaleidoscope of Northern Lights that flicker between stories.

Gracie Peterson, said she loves how the skits teach different things—hers is about self-discovery as two best friends realize they love each other even more than they thought.

“It’s definitely a play for the time in which we live—it encourages us to talk to one another, to come together,” she said.

Nicholas Fehr finds himself in a complicated tangle when an old girlfriend comes to his house to apologize for something.

“I love that the stories have different perspectives on love,” he said. “The play has drama, but a lot of it is really funny romantic comedy.”

Bryna Neace, who plays the ironing board whacker, said she likes that all the characters in the play know each other, even though they don’t necessarily appear on stage together.

“Being part of this has taught me to love everything I do and keep doing it and don’t take anything for granted,” she said.

Aurora Widdison said she’s just happy to be able to present a play on stage, as the resetrictions imposed by the pandemic over the past year and a half “have not been the funnest.”

“I’m learning that you have to come out and have fun, anyway,” she said. “And the people in this are all cool and nice and fun to hang around with.”

Others I the cast include Loula Scott Christensen, Zephyra Stream, Brandon Enders, Elena Tamayo, Piper Kolb, Sherlin C. Ramirez, Lilia Page and Holden Blair


 

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