By Randy Wyrick GYPSUM — You didn’t know that the romantic comedy “Almost, Maine,” is the most-performed play by high school, more than Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
“Almost, Maine” is a midwinter night’s dream. It runs this week at Eagle Valley High School.
The play “Almost, Maine” is actually eight short plays, all funny and touching, plus a prologue, an interlogue and an epilogue – which are also funny.
Playwright John Cariani set the play in the mythical almost-town, Almost, Maine. Cariani described Almost this way: “It’s a place that’s so far north, it’s almost not in the United States. It’s almost in Canada. And it’s not quite a town, because its residents never got around to getting organized. So it almost doesn’t exist.”
The bits all occur around the same time; “One cold, clear, winter night, as the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above,” Cariana said. On this night the residents of Almost, Maine, find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and hilarious ways. Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. But the bruises heal, and the hearts (almost mend) in this delightful midwinter night’s dream.”
In and out of love
“Almost, Maine” has become enormously popular with professional and nonprofessional theater companies around the world. In the 2017-2018 school year, it was the most produced play in North American high schools, supplanting Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
There’s the girl (Zoe Chelde) who carries the 19 pieces of her broken heart in a bag because that’s where her husband left it when he “went.” How and why her husband “went” and how her heart was broken … well, that would be a spoiler, and you wouldn’t want that.
Then there’s the girl (Lydia Loupe) who hauls huge orange bags filled with love that she’s bringing back to her long-time boyfriend (Gage Harper). She wants her love back, because she’s done. He’s not, and you’ll find that love comes in some remarkable sizes.
Then there’s the guy (Bo Calvo) who cannot feel physical pain, until he does when a girl (Andrea Grewe) accidentally but repeatedly whacks him in the head with an ironing board.
“Almost, Maine,” is also custom made for a large cast, says faculty director James Overcash, enabling Ohimself and directors Jesse Bunge, Ashley Wagner and Megan Lodge to put lots of performers on stage, but not at the same time.
Each of the nine bits features two or three players.
Eagle Valley’s music department chairman Pat Sheehy conducts a small orchestra, giving the production a Broadway feel.
Cariani’s writing crackles, and Overcash and Bunge cautioned the actors not to try to act funny. The play makes them funny, and they are.
Via:: Vail Daily