‘Almost Maine’ Was Truly a Class Act

December 9, 2016

 

by Len Lathrop

The Steckevicz Gym was transformed into a theater for about 200, with a stage that allowed the audience to feel the emotions that the student actors showed.

While “Class Act,” Alvirne’s theater group, always has something special to present to the audience, having seen their presentation of “Almost Maine” maybe six or seven years ago by Class Act, this year’s change in theater format changed how you saw the play.  Please don’t think that the thespians were not excellent.

“Almost Maine” is a play written by John Cariani, where there are nine plays of love and loss in a mythical town called Almost Maine.  This play premiered at the Portland Stage Company in 2004.

From the playbill synopsis by Jennifer LaFrance, “The script consists of several short scenes.  Seven of these short scenes have two characters who never appear in any other scene but their own.  Only one scene has three characters, but we never see any of them again either.  The same two characters do appear several times (prologue and epilogue, and the interlogue).  In all these eleven short scenes we are introduced to nineteen characters, with each of whom we spend only a few minutes.  Throughout these few minutes that are spent with these characters, love and loss is explored and shown in several different forms.  Anyone who is in love or has loved can relate to these moving stories.”

Performing thespians were Liam Soto (Pete), Hannah Kraemer (Ginette), Nathan Kimborowicz (East/Randy), Caitlin Lindsay (Glory), Andrew Hotham (Jimmy), Katelynn Rice (Sandrine), Maddie McClellan (Villian), Cassie Shelley (Marvalyn), Joe Lavoie (Steve/Dave), Tyler Gagnon (Lendall), Kylie Marcotte (Gayle), Tyler Gagnon (Chad), Kelsey Pease (Marci), Jake Apitz (Phil), Jessica Taylor (Hope), Lucas Scovil (Daniel) and Connie Prestia (Rhonda).

Behind the curtain the production team were Jennifer LaFrance, Director and Scenic Design; Lauren Denis, Tech Director; Kendyl Trott, Stage Manager; Cailey Shaughnessy, Assistant Stage Manager; Jeremy Bistany, Light Design; Bradley Garcia and Allyson Cahill, Sound Design; Marianne Hedges, Nikole St. Germain and Maddie Persons-Cutting; Zoe Speros, Property Design; Georgie Gentile, Jake Apitz, Cassie Shelley and Jess Taylor, Scenic Artists; Megan Rivers, Sound Operator; Eddie Sarcia, Spot Light Operator and Ashley Larose and Noah Brody, Run Crew.

As a co-curricular project, these students worked countless hours in transforming not only the stage of the gymnasium but, with the use of curtains and the center court divider, made a theater where there were no bad seats.  As the stage came out and down from the main stage the thespians were about 10 feet from the first row of the seats.

While the design was special the platform colors were soft and gentle, where you could easily feel the back woods of Maine and see the Northern Lights during the scene that featured the power of the lights and a broken heart carried in a brown paper bag.  Other scenes worked with measuring love and how it could be saved and given back, until it was transformed in a ring of gold.  Another was a lost love, and a chance meeting with a twist of one of the lovers getting married the next day, to someone else.

If you missed this show, some of the same thespians will be performing in “The Velveteen Rabbit,” a unified theatre arts performance in Alvirne’s 3-1-1 Theater on Dec. 16 and 17.