“Almost, Maine” gets almost two thumbs up

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Kenton Jacobsen--The love story between Pete (Christian Cannon) and Ginette (Kira Kramer) unified the production's varied story line.

“Almost, Maine,” California Baptist University’s first theatre production of the school year, was not quite a quintessential love story, though it was still a wonderful look at love in the postmodern world.

The ten scenes, featuring eight couples, played by only eleven actors brought a little bit of blustery romance to CBU. It was blustery, because the play was set in the most northeastern state of the United States- Maine, where it can get cold.

The set, designed by Lee Lyons, was minimal yet picturesque because of the all-black backdrop and overlay of twinkle lights. Though night can sometimes insinuate danger, this setting was peaceful and made the audience feel that they were in a
safe place.

Another aspect of the set that contributed to the tranquil atmosphere of the play was the display of Northern Lights. The Northern Lights are not easily replicated, so in order to pull off this scene, Lyons had to fall back on his experience. By projecting iridescent lighting on billowy cloths hung from the ceiling, the scene looked nearly surreal.

Costumes, as well, were not extravagant, but fitting for the production. Actors wore appropriate clothing for a cold night in New England: scarves, hats, heavy jackets, etc. Since the characters were average people experiencing realistic situations, there was no need for frills. The costume designer, Cherie Riley, got this spot on.

The romantic play was actually episodic in structure, meaning it was made up of multiple anecdotal love stories that each contributed to the overall purpose; to show the love is not always what it seems. You can gain it, you can lose it, you can find it, or it can sneak up on you.

For Glory (Natalie Harris) and East (Garret Replogle) love was a mixture of all of these. East found Glory in his backyard as she wondered around in hopes to see the northern lights.

Glory had recently “lost” her husband, West, because he broke her heart and went away with someone else. While, Glory is wondering around in her broken state of mind, East sneaks up on her and it ends up that they gain a love they never expected. By the end of the scene, Glory is able to say, “Goodbye West, Hello East.”

Harris and Replogle appear in another scene together, but this time the ending is tragic. As Phil and Marcia, they play a long-time married couple who is on the verge of divorce. We don’t actually find out if they separate, but the song that plays as the scene ends implies that it is goodbye.

The play explores many different scenarios and Harris and Replogle show their skill by being able to depict different types of characters in one play. Cassi Saville, Chris Hiigel, Ashley Setzler and Michael Ring also depict multiple characters throughout the play.

Others actors worth mentioning are Cassidy Edison, who played a waitress named “Villian,” Ashley Setzler, who played both “Marvalyn” and “Rhonda”, and Kira Hannah Kramer, who played “Ginette”. Each of these actors are Freshman and did a great job in their first roles at CBU.

This play was connected by two characters: Pete (Christian Cannon) and Ginette (Kira Kramer).

Pete and Ginette appeared in the prologue and epilogue of the play (Pete also once in the middle) and the audience seemed to look forward to their return throughout the play, since these actors made the characters so lovable through facial expressions and personality traits.

“Almost, Maine” disregards the conventional practice of having the stage crew dress in all black and change the set as discreetly as possible. Instead, the stage crew draws as much attention to themselves, wearing bright red and making broad gestures to let the audience know how they feel about the occurrences in the previous scene.

This unconventional play was so different from plays of the past but this show worked because of the great direction of Krista Jo Miller.

About Jenny Miner

I am a journalism major and long-time Banner staff member and will, this year, be serving as the Editor-in-Chief. I just returned from an intense semester in Washington, DC, where I learned a lot about the future of journalism. I am looking forward to one last year working for The Banner and am hopeful that the team will make great strides in keeping up with the rapidly changing journalism field, as well as do our job to keep the CBU community informed about all news California Baptist University.