Theatre Production Review: Almost, Maine
By: Ashley Franken
This romantic comedy was not one to disappoint! At first, I was skeptical because of the small production and number of scenes. However, after enjoying this performance by our very own theatre department, I will be definitely attending more in the future. Almost, Maine is a romantic comedy comprising eleven short scenes that display the romantic lives between individuals.
The show opens with a prologue scene featuring Joe Klinebriel and Faith Brehm. This scene was hilarious with its use of metaphors for being so far from someone while they are sitting right next to you. Throughout the production, these two are also featured in the interlogue and epilogue. Although their scenes, were short, I believe they captured the spirit and emotion of the characters. This scene was well executed as the two had spent time together then were apart because they were too close according to Joe’s character, Pete. Then at the end Faith’s character, Ginette, came back around to the other side of the “world” to be close to her significant other again.
The next scene was titled “Her Heart”. This one was very sweet and anyone who saw me crying…no you didn’t. This scene was absolutely one of my favorites as it starred Hanna Hoftender as Glory and Logan Eigenberger as East. These two created the beautiful scene of Glory going to Maine to see the Northern Lights and apologize to her late husband. As this scene progresses, Glory tells East how her late husband “West” had broken her heart and that’s why she carried it around in a bag to remind herself that it’s broken and can’t be fixed. Although, East changes this for her, as the repairman he takes her broken heart and shows her love and affection. This scene was displayed beautifully and even left me with a tear in my eye.
The next scene “Sad and Glad” I believe resonated with most of the college students in the room that night. This scene opened with Christian English playing Jimmy who is now the ex of Sandrine, played by Haley Kline, with the occasional appearance of Faith Brehm as the waitress. As the scene continues, we find out that the two had dated in the past but had split after Sandrine didn’t feel the same way. Jimmy tried to invite her over that night to reconnect until he found out that she was only there for her bachelorette party. As some may think Jimmy was disappointed to hear that the girl he adored was getting married; however this turning point in the scene I believe is a life lesson for many that were in the audience. sometimes all you can do is be happy for the person you once loved and realize that your happiness is still out there. This scene showed how mature a person can be and realize that life is too short to be sad and drink over a past lover but rather keep your head up and let your true love find you. This was an excellent job by these three performers!
The next scene was “This Hurts” with performances by Alex Dean and Mckenna Smith. These two portrayed Steve and Marvalyn, two tenants in an apartment building. This scene features a woman doing her laundry and a man taking notes of what to be afraid of and what can hurt him. As the characters talk, we find out that the woman’s boyfriend isn’t good to her at all and gets upset when she is gone for too long. Alex did an amazing job of portraying Steve and the main point was that he couldn’t feel pain until Marvalyn, (Mckenna) kisses him, and hits him once more with the ironing board. This final time he exclaims “Ow!” and we see both characters develop in a short period; however this scene gets left on a cliffhanger never to be finished.
Now, this next scene had to be in my top three. Hanna Hoftender and Michael Storm did an amazing job with the emotion and reality of this scene. Entitled “Giving it Back”, we enter the scene to see Lendell (Storm) asleep in a chair while Gayle (Hoftender) was pounding on his door. Once Lendell opens the door Gayle is visibly upset by the fact she feels she’s given Lendell all her love and why should she give him all that if he wasn’t going to propose soon. Now I definitely had a laugh at this scene as it is so relatable for most of us in the audience. After years and years of dating and being in a committed relationship with someone, the big question starts to linger about proposing. Hoftender did an amazing job portraying her character and even using her body movements to display her emotions. Towards the end of the scene when we finally see what was in the little red bag that was “all of the love she gave Lendell”, we find a ring. Not just a ring, but THE RING. The scene ends with them embracing one another and of course Gayle looking at her ring. I mean if it was me I’d be doing the same thing.
After the intermission we see Michael Storm and Logan Eigenberger reenter the stage but now portraying two best friends, Chad and Randy. These two had me laughing hysterically when they had a contest about who had the worst date. They set the scene perfectly for them to both announce that they were falling in love with each other towards the end of the scene. Oh, when I mean falling, I’m not talking metaphorically…these two LITERALLY fell for each other. This hilarious scene had not only me laughing but the whole audience. I believe this truly brought the comedic relief we were all looking for after so many touching scenes.
“Where it Went” was the next scene and let me just say, Sunil Malapati and Brenna Burgart did not disappoint . This scene shows the two married and out ice skating for their anniversary. This was Marci’s (Brugart’s) idea in the last chance to reconnect with her once love. However, Phil (Malapati) does not remember any detail of the day or even what the significance of the place is to Marci. This exposes the harsh reality of what can happen in relationships. We see these two arguing back and forth, lying to one another about if they had a good time or not. This opened my eyes, and I’m sure many others, to the fact that for relationships to work there has to be communication. Yes, people can get busy and forget certain dates, but some things like an anniversary…I don’t think should ever be forgotten.
In the scene “Story of Hope”, I cried because of how heartfelt and touching and needless to say heart-wrenching this story was. My praise goes out to Kathryn Allen (Hope), Christian English (Daniel), and Mckenna Smith (Suzette) for an amazing performance. This story is of Hope who comes back to her hometown to visit her once love, Daniel, who has seemingly moved on. She came to say yes to his question of marriage that he asked her before she left the town of Almost. After hearing this story, I felt so horrible for Hope as she was too late even though Daniel tries to make her feel like she wasn’t. It’s at this point that we hear the voice of Suzette, who is Daniels’s wife… I know I was shocked too. It’s ok the waterworks turned on for me too as my heart broke for Hope. However, it hit me as a play on words…Daniel lost hope so he married someone else. This scene was amazing to watch and experience even if it did get on the emotional side.
The final scene was by far my favorite, titled “Seeing the Thing”. Logan Eigenberger and Alannah Walker did an amazing job portraying best friends who had just been out in the snow, then arrived back at Rhonda’s house. It’s there that Dave gives her a painting of something, I didn’t find out till the end so you get to experience that too. As Rhonda tries to see what Dave has painted she gets flustered and keeps guessing wrong. It’s then when Dave says he has to “trick” the painting to see what it is. This scene was hilarious by all of the guessing and just overall chaotic energy. Once Rhonda figures out what it is, the audience gets to see that it was a heart that Dave painted for her. It’s then implied that these two characters would strip down to their long johns and embrace with a passionate kiss.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this production and want to give a special “thank you for making the production go so smoothly” to the following people: Joe Klinebriel (Director), Ellen Gabrielleschi (Scenic and Lighting Design), Alison English (Costume Design), Danny Zanger (Original Music), Colin Muenster (Visual Effects Designer), Alannah Walker (Student Director), Hanna Hoftender (Student Director), Martin Santos (Assistant to the Director), Gabrielleschi (Technical Director), Muenster (Graphic Design), Thomas Pelelo (Soundboard Operator), Logan Mihm (Backstage Crew), Brenna Burgart (Backstage Crew). As well as the following production crew: Walker, Hoftender, Logan Eigenburger, Brennen Kupfer, Santos, Esmeralda Kajtazovic, Aris Tyler, Haley Kline, Olivia Enzker, and Josephine Enzler.