There’s something comforting about small town familiarity. That relaxed, slow-paced way of life, the way everyone knows everyone’s name (and their business), the way people come together in unexpected ways.
There’s a dreamy, mystical quality to “Almost, Maine,” the play being staged by the Sherburne-Earlville drama club this weekend, that enraptures the viewer, transporting them to a place and time that’s strikingly similar to our small-town ways right here in good ol’ Chenango County.
Written by John Cariani, “Almost, Maine” is a series of vignettes – funny, dramatic, poignant and sometimes silly – that all take place at the same time in the same place: A blustery cold winter’s night in the “town” of Almost. Not quite an official town, as one character notes, because no one ever got organized enough to ... organize it. There’s a meandering quality about the series of scenes strung together in the play that suggests the way the residents of the remote Almost come together and affect each other’s lives.
“Something for everyone” is a tired cliche in these reviews, but it nonetheless applies to this show. Directed by Colleen Law-Tefft, the latest S-E drama club offering stays true to the colloquial tone of its setting throughout, but there are scenes and characters that will have appeal to any matter of theater-goer. There are laughs, tears and moments both thought-provoking and head-scratching.
I think Colleen said it best in a press release she sent to me last week: “Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. But the bruises heal, and the hearts mend – almost – in this delightful midwinter night’s dream.”
I had the chance to see this play – I think it was last season? – down at the Chenango River Theatre in Greene, performed by Equity actors (that’s the real deal, folks). And while that production was obviously top-notch, I dare say the company at S-E has matched the pros. It’s a simple play, with minimal set pieces and certainly no flashy production numbers, but it still gives each and every one of these aspiring actors a moment to shine. Take a chance and let them take you on a journey to this mythical town – it’ll feel like home.
The cast of “Almost” features 17 S-E thespians: Grace Dunshee, Zoe Enscoe, Lukas Fetzko, Maisy French, Geana Giglio, Gemma Godfrey, Mike Holeck, Haley Muth, Craig Natoli, Danielle Purdy, Matt Rajczi, Ed Rigano, Alex Rodriguez, Megan Rogers, Shannon Staley, Stephanie Staley, and Jacob Taylor. Assistant Director is Lucy Taylor, with other students helping backstage and behind the scenes.
Show times are tonight and Saturday nights at 7. Tickets are $5 and will be available at the door.
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