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Vienna Theatre Company Almost, Maine

By • Jan 23rd, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Almost, Maine by John Cariani
Vienna Theatre Company
Vienna Community Center, Vienna, VA
Through February 6th
1:50 with one intermission
$13/$11 Seniors and Students
Reviewed January 22nd, 2011

Almost, Maine is a series of humorous episodes about the love lives of the “Almosters,” the residents of a small non-town 163 miles away from Bangor, Maine. This was a fun, lighthearted show that will help you see love in its many forms.

This was a fun show with no deep messages or hidden layer motives. The eight vignettes highlighted some aspect of love: love lost, love rekindled, love found, love’s insanity, broken love, etc. The ensemble actors did well with making each character in each scene distinct. In “Her Heart” Allison Galen played Glory talked fast and appeared upset, pacing almost constantly while East (Daniel Martin) was a study in contrasts. Martin came back again in the scene 8 and was his character was much more animated. Several scenes were built around word plays, but it would betray the show to give the puns away before you can see this gem. Throughout Almost, Maine each scene moves swiftly, giving a few of the slower scenes a greater impact as you are able to spend time studying the actors as they react to their partner.

The simple set of a star curtain combined with very basic walls and furniture by Set Designer Tom Epps allowed for the focus to be drawn to the action on the stage. Ben Allen’s special effects were pleasantly surprising, but again to say to much would spoil the magic of the moment. Light Designer Jennifer Lyman kept most of the sites dimly lit as they were supposed to be taking place outdoors on a star lit evening just before the Northern Lights began. One scene took place in a crowded bar. Music Composer Jonathan Powers used soft music as an underscore which was not distracting.

Also of note was the performance we attended required extra seating to be arranged. This may have been the largest audience we’ve been a part of at the Vienna Community Center. Almost, Maine was a series of sweet vignettes, but not excessively so.

Note From the Director

Having lived in a small town most of my life, I can identify with a place where people were inter-connected with one another by small coincidences like working near each other or eating at the same restaurants. We have our own little universities and yet seem to also navigate the same side streets, grocery aisles and library stacks when we live together in close proximity.

The people of Almost, Maine, all experience the same moment on a winter evening around none o’clock. In the magical world that our playwright creates, something unusual happens at that moment. It may be a world changer for some of these residents or it may be just be the beginning of a new way of looking at things. But they are all on the cusp of something on this very same night in this very small town.

Not only is it an entertaining idea for a play but it also ma kes me wonder how many winter evenings contain such moments for the residents of our little town, too.
Enjoy.
Suzanne Maloney

Cast

  • Gayle, Marci: Jina Leigh Ames
  • Chad, Phil: Chuck Dluhy
  • Steve, Randy: Tom Epps
  • Glory, Waitress: Allison S. Galen
  • Marvalyn, Rhonda: Erin Gallalee
  • Lendell, Man: Allan L’Etoile
  • East, Dave: Daniel Marin
  • Ginette: Jessie Roberts
  • Pete, Jimmy: Jon Roberts
  • Sandrine, Hope: Allison Shelby

Crew

  • Producer: Barbara Chaudet
  • Director: Suzanne Maloney
  • Asst. Producer: Laura Fargotstein
  • Stage Manager: Mary Ann Hall
  • Set Design: Tom Epps
  • Lighting Design: Jennifer Lyman
  • Sound Design: Jonathan Powers
  • Music Composer: Jonathan Powers
  • Costume Design: Patricia Tender
  • Makeup Design: Amber Dyer
  • Special Effects Design: Ben Allen
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Micheal J. O’Connor
  • Set Painting design: Tom Epps
  • Master Electrician: Micheal J. O’Connor
  • Set Construction: Ben Allen, Tom Epps, Mike Lyons, Suzanne Maloney, John Maloney, Ken Perkowski, Jessie Roberts, John Vasko, KC Yi
  • Set Painting: Jina Leigh Ames, Barbara Chaudet, Chuck Dluhy, Laura Fargotstein, Suzanne Maloney, Allison Shelby
  • Light Board Operators: Laura Fargotstein, Ken Perkowski, Michael Schwandt
  • Fight Choreography: Brian Farrell, Karen Schlumpf
  • Photographer: Harold Bonacquist
  • Graphics: Harold Bonacquist
  • Program Design: Tim Epps

Disclaimer: Vienna Theatre Company provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review. Also, VTC purchased advertising on the ShowBizRadio web site.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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