By Victoria O’Connor
LOGOS STAFF WRITER
“Almost, Maine,” a romantic comedy by John Cariani, opens Friday, Oct. 2, for a six-day run ending Oct. 10, at the University of the Incarnate Word’s Cheever Theatre.
The quote, “It’s love, but not quite,” is used to describe Cariani’s play, a romantic comedy with magical realism as it deals with love and the people who find themselves along the way.
“Cariani took whit, charm and guts to a whole new level as he explores the theme of love,” said junior Lia Trevino, one of the cast members playing five roles each. “Love comes in many forms and ‘Almost, Maine’ allows its audience to have a closer, personal look into the lives of several individuals who are experiencing obstacles with the subject matter.”
The play is set in Almost, a location so small and distant from the rest of Maine, it almost feels non-existent to the rest of the state. On a cold winter’s Friday night, as the northern lights move across the sky, citizens of the city fall in and out of love in bizarre ways.
“The show as a whole is about the trials and tribulations of love,” freshman Megan McHugh said. “Each individual scene is its own ‘play’ within itself, with a different set of characters in each scene. It’s an adorable, sometimes heartbreaking, show that has been a personal favorite of mine since I started theatre.”
Cast members say the five characters they each have to play throughout the play add new life to their different roles. The characters are meant to be entertaining and relatable to the audience, and the realism of the show is reflected in each of the characters, they said.
“I play the characters of ‘East,’ ‘Steve,’ ‘Randy,’ ‘Phil’ and ‘Dave,’ ” said Adam Ortega, a junior. “I think every single character goes through arcs that we can all relate to, such as attempting to rekindle a broken relationship, yearning for human connection, and guarding themselves because of past traumas.
“I play the roles of ‘Glory,’ ‘Villian,’ ‘Gayle,’ ‘Marci’ and ‘Rhonda,’ ” Trevino said. “Each individual has a different perspective on love and how it affects their own lives. Some have never experienced love while others are fed up and need (an) answer to move forward.”
“One of our biggest challenges has been to really differentiate all the characters to tell the different stories while still keeping a part of ourselves in them,” sophomore Matthew Shavers said. “We want our audiences to reflect on what they experience, so we aim for natural and honest human relations and stimulus on stage.”
Overall, the cast has worked together and with the director, Associate Professor Mark Stringham, to bring the production together and for high hopes with audience success.
“The Theatre Department as a whole is very welcoming and professional,” Trevino said. “This has allowed me to immediately dive into work and character development. Our relationship has allowed us to analyze the characters and decisions of the playwright freely.”
“This is my third production with Mark and working with him is always one of the best experiences that I can be fortunate enough to have,” said Matthew Shavers. “I learn so much from him to build and shape my craft and even myself.
“I hope for people to learn and take away something about love, and themselves: how to handle certain situations, how to act towards those you love, etc,” McHugh said. “There is so much that can be taken away from this show. The script is funny, sad, romantic and a little magical, and I truly hope the audience enjoys watching the show as much as I enjoy reading and preforming it with my theatre family.”
“Almost, Maine,” under the direction of Associate Professor Mark Stringham, opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, in Cheever Theatre at the University of the Incarnate Word.
Other performances will be at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3; 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4; 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8; 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9; and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10.
The scene design is by Christopher McCollum, lighting design is by Justin Bennett, and the costume design is by Margaret Mitchell.
UIW faculty, staff and students get in free with UIW ID. Otherwise, tickets are $10 for adults, $9 for senior citizens, $8 for non-UIW students, and $6 each for groups of 10 or more
For more information, call (210) 829-3800 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org