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Falls Church High School Almost, Maine

By • Dec 12th, 2012 • Category: Cappies

“What is love?” The question may well puzzle anyone, but Falls Church High School’s production of Almost, Maine strives to answer just that.

Written by John Cariani, Almost, Maine premiered in 2004 at the Portland Stage Company to critical acclaim. Since then it has become the most commonly produced high school play. Consisting of nine vignettes taking place in the not-quite-town of “Almost,” Maine, the story follows a number of different characters as their relationships take drastic turns in one night.

While the brevity of each scene made leaving an impression challenging, Randy (Boris Mewborn) and Chad (Gunnar Frodigh) provided the strong comic relief the show needed. As two young men beaten down by love, the two were able to show their irritation with constant romantic failure while still causing uproarious laughter with their hilarious tales of dates gone wrong. Mewborn’s mature character voice and Frodigh’s expert physicality made the scene simultaneously ridiculous and believable. The pair’s strong bond of friendship created a reminder that not all love is defined by romance, and the relationship between friends can prove to be just as strong, if not even stronger.

Forming an extremely different picture, Rhonda (Emily McGowen) and Dave (Boris Mewborn) made their vignette simultaneously sweet and comical. Mewborn keenly portrayed his character’s journey from Rhonda’s friend to her lover, gently urging her to come out of her shell. McGowen’s attempts to stay contained and avoid affection were genuine, and her progression from bitter and aloof to loving and adventurous was inspiring. The scene proved to be a promising close to the evening that was spotted with many somber moments.

The most emotionally stirring relationship was that of Marci (Melanie Reuter) and Phil (Gunnar Frodigh). Tackling the difficult task of portraying a couple nearing the end of their marriage, the two expertly played off of each other to form a highly believable conflict. Reuter, in particular, utilized a mature voice and cautious physicality that clearly established her age, a challenge some actors struggled with. The scene established Reuter and Frodigh as the production’s strongest actors.

The stage crew proved to be especially creative. Moving the scenery not as invisible techs but as additional characters. The scene shifts were effective and seamlessly connected the scenarios, essentially creating additional vignettes with no dialogue. The lighting was also visually pleasing and functional, forming a variety of effects, from the beautiful northern lights to the headlights of a car. Costumes were generally selected with consideration to the cold climate of Maine and greatly enhanced the show.

Despite some overacting and lines lost through laughter, the delightful cast of Almost, Maine was able to create the feeling of a small, northern town perfectly. And while saying just what love is may seem impossible, Falls Church was “almost” able to. And that, it seems, is as close as we’ll ever get.

by Drew Holcombe of West Springfield High School

Photo Gallery

Keely Greene, Brennan Jones J.D. Moreno, Jade Koumtakoun
Keely Greene, Brennan Jones
J.D. Moreno, Jade Koumtakoun
Jimmy Miller, Ava Hockenberry Catherine Kiesel, Mark Zubaly
Jimmy Miller, Ava Hockenberry
Catherine Kiesel, Mark Zubaly
Gunnar Frodigh, Boris Mewborn Gunnar Frodigh and Melanie Reuter
Gunnar Frodigh, Boris Mewborn
Gunnar Frodigh and Melanie Reuter
Boris Mewborn, Emily McGowen
Boris Mewborn, Emily McGowen

Photos by Rich Stanage

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is a program which was founded in 1999, for the purpose of celebrating high school theater arts and providing a learning opportunity for theater and journalism students. You can learn more at cappies.com.

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