Almost, Maine


Marlee Baker, Editor-In-Chief

As children, we were right to think of love in terms of magical storybook settings. In West High’s production of “Almost, Maine,” directed by Drama teacher Christine Welk, love is introduced to the harsh realities of life with fantastical penchants in an array of charming, witty and often heart-wrenching stories.

Through a set of nine vignettes featuring two characters each, this romantic comedy jumps from scene to scene, often using literal idioms to portray abstract concepts of love.  Set in the slightly whimsical, slightly mythical town of Almost, Maine, the audience experiences a typical weekend evening here, in which friends fall (literally) in love, a repairman fixes a shattered stone-heart kept in a paper-bag and a couple exchanges heavy and not-so-heavy sacks filled with love.

The students who performed in each scene did so alone in the spotlight, often delving into elaborate monologues and often sharing kisses.  However, these high schoolers performed with the composure of professionals, never breaking character.  They also, generally, expressed immense passion in their roles.  When Sandrine (Paige Ramirez) revealed her engagement to a past and still-attached lover, Jimmy, (Isaiah Mahoney), I could feel her desire to spare him harm despite her need to tell him the truth.  Her face expressed sympathy, awkwardness and regret all at once.  The moment of silence between them that followed was louder than any other exchange in the play, and trust me, there were many, many heated arguments.

The simplicity of the stage decor allowed for interpretation and movement.  It was the ambiance of the various lightings that, in the end, emphasized the coldness of a winter night alone, as well as the warmth from sharing that cold night with someone.  Also, I must commend the tech crew for the excellent dictation of classic love songs during scene changes, as well as the construction of an innovative spinning stage.  It was an unexpected but exciting touch, and continually produced a chorus of “ooohs!” from the audience.

“Almost, Maine,” truly captured the magic that comes with love, in all shapes and sizes and scenarios.  Though it’s performance has long since expired, be on the lookout for any more Drama performances coming later this year!