The Florida Southern College Festival of Fine Arts opened their production of the play “Almost, Maine” at the Buckner Theater on Oct. 1.
“Almost, Maine,” written by actor John Cariani, is a play composed of nine romantic vignettes that tell stories of love and loss on a single Friday night in a small mythical Maine town called – you guessed it – Almost.
Although the original 2006 run of the play in New York City was considered a theatrical flop, “Almost, Maine” is currently the most produced play in North American schools, and Florida Southern’s production makes it easy to see why.
This show is perfect for college theatre. Each vignette is essentially a 10-minute play and are all connected through location, theme, as well as an occasional mention of previously seen characters. The student cast of 19, directed by Paul Bawek, never misses a cue and not once come off as children playing adults. They completely deliver in their respective roles.
As a romantic comedy, the scenes themselves are naturally about love. Good love, bad love, broken hearts and second chances are all explored in the play. While some plots could be considered predictable, others throw a complete curveball to what would be expected. All left the audience completely enamored.
Additionally, nearly all of the scenes abandon the so-called normal path of storytelling, and dive into areas of symbolism or whimsy, telling the stories of love in a much more literal way as a result. Without giving too much away, a few examples of these features in the show include a woman returning her partner’s love in a bag, two friends – literally – falling for each other and a man who doesn’t feel pain or emotion.
The set design is effective and simple, and does a great job of moving the stories along. In particular, throughout the play, the characters bring attention to the Maine night sky shimmering with the colorful Northern Lights (kudos to the very creative lighting designer, Jessica Riddle).
Overall, “Almost, Maine” is fantastic in every way. The cast, the plot, and visual aspects are completely engaging and will definitely entertain. Be sure not to miss it while it is here at Florida Southern.
The remaining performances will take place at the Buckner Theater from Oct. 8 through Oct. 11. Weekday shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday show begins at 2:30 p.m. For more information or for tickets, visit the Buckner Theater box office.