‘Maine’ feels closer to home


By Carl Nadig

Students don’t need to travel far to visit Almost, Maine: The School of Theatre and Dance premieres John Cariani’s romantic comedy at 7:30 p.m. today at Huntley Middle School, 1515 S. Fourth St.

Production director Ryan Massie’s interpretation of Cariani’s play focuses on vignettes of a diverse range of characters and symbolizes the irrationalities in their romantic relationships. “Almost, Maine” includes a complex stage with miscellaneous items and randomly associated trinkets. The show’s cast and technical crew have been rehearsing since early September.

“I didn’t make any changes to the script,” Massie said. “The biggest thing I had a decision on was the setting. It’s typically set … in a winter wonderland … on a bare-staged set, which is why it’s usually performed at high schools or community theatres.

“And I like the idea of a storage space, a warehouse space [or] a space that we confer into a lot of different things because, I think, in every relationship that we go into we bring our past. We bring our past relationships and all the junk with it.

“So we’re using the junk setup to create the present … in order to capture love. I think that’s reflected a lot in the set: It’s pieces of a bar, a couch cushion, a car van where you might’ve had your first kiss [and] a jukebox where you heard your love song.”

The play’s musical score, which includes remixes of Adele’s “Someone Like You,” Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” touches on the transforming stages of a romantic relationship. The show’s cast believes the play appeals to anyone.

“There are comedic moments, there are dramatic moments [and] it has a little bit of everything,” said Alexi Langlois, sophomore fine arts acting major and actress in the production. “It can appeal to anybody. We’re really excited because everyone’s worked so hard on everything — the set designers, the costume designers, the lightning designers and the sound designers.“

The rehearsal and performance process has not been flawless because of the location. Construction on the Stevens Building resulted in theatrical rehearsals and performances relocating to other campus facilities and Huntley Middle School.

“We don’t have a building this year, so we’re all over campus and all over town,” said J.C. Fair, sophomore fine arts acting major. “One thing that’s amazing that our department’s been able to do is build the set someplace else and move it over here. One thing that’s great is our tech department.”