New Minowa Players proudly presents “Almost, Maine” by John Cariani through special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc. on April 25-28 at the New Minowa Players Theatre.
“Almost, Maine” is a whimsical play that explores the question “What does it mean to love someone?” through a series of loosely-connected vignettes. The residents of the unincorporated Maine town of Almost fall in and out of love with each other and themselves as new love is kindled, old love flickers out, and relationships are transformed in the midst of a bleak Maine winter.
Directed by Aaron Kvale, “Almost, Maine” is comprised of a prologue, a four-scene first act, an interlogue, a four-scene second act, and an epilogue. The title refers to an imagined town in Northern Maine, named Almost, that doesn’t quite exist. Each scene consists of at least two main characters.
The Prologue features Pete (Sawyer Vanden Brink) and Ginette (Jordyn Hussain), sitting on a bench. The pair have been dating for a bit and try to move forward in their relationship with some uncertain success.
Act One begins with “Her Heart,” a scene that follows an out-of-town hiker, Glory (Cydney Weitzel), who has come to Almost hoping to see the northern lights. She sets up camp in the yard of a hometown native named East (Steven Holkesvik) who is a bit confused why she is in his yard.
“Sad and Glad,” spotlights Jimmy (Austin Olson) and Sandrine (Crystal Harrell). The couple dated a while ago and see each other at a local hangout. As they talk, Jimmy tries to reconnect with Sandrine. Their awkward conversation gets even more awkward as Jimmy creates much more of a scene than Sandrine wants as he tries to get the attention of a waitress (Violet Hatfield).
In the third scene, “This Hurts,” Marvalyn (Mina Sahir) meets Steve (David Mandez), an eccentric man who can’t feel pain, while doing her laundry. Together, they explore the things that hurt, the things we should be afraid of, and the things we don’t fear enough no matter how much they hurt us.
“Getting It Back,” has Gayle (Sheryl Scheffert) showing up at the door of Lendall (Rick Scheffert) intending to break up with him. She is in for a big surprise when she demands that he return all the love she has given him over the course of their relationship.
After an interlogue to check in with Pete and Ginette, the second act begins with “They Fell” featuring Chad (Hayden Carlson) and Randy (Billy Lange). During a routine weeknight hangout, Chad and Randy struggle to talk about their feelings and discover how much they value each other.
“Where It Went” shares the story of troubled married couple Phil (Adam Lenehan) and Marci (Molly Holkesvik) while out on a date skating in the woods. Marci is mad. Phil doesn’t know why. What follows is tense as both Phil and Marci finally vent their greatest frustrations with their marriage.
In “Story of Hope,” a woman named Hope (MaryBeth Specht) has returned to Almost to try to reconnect with her old boyfriend Danny (Jim McIntosh) after leaving his proposal to her decades ago unanswered.
“Seeing the Thing,” is the final full scene of Act Two, and follows the developing relationship between Dave (Sam Whitehead) and Rhonda (Aleesa Baakko). Dave is interested in her, but Rhonda doesn’t quite understand. Dave shares a painting to express his feeling and invites Rhonda to engage in some art interpretation. Rhonda isn’t quite sure what to do next.
The play ends with an Epilogue with Pete and Ginette seeing how their relationship evolves.
Performances will be April 25, 26, 27 at 7:30 p.m. and April 26 and 27 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets will be available at the Oneota Community Food Co-op and online in the near future. Sponsors for the show are: A & J Petersburg Agency, Decorah Bank & Trust, Family Table, Gallery of Tops, Iroc Web Design Services, Modish, Pizza Ranch, RocketDog Books, Rick and Sheryl Scheffert, and Singing Hammers Construction.