|By Dana Casadei|
Over the last few years, ensemble films
with multiple characters and storylines and an overall theme have become
increasingly popular. “Valentines Day” and its pseudo-sequel “New
Year’s Eve” are two of the more prominent examples. This weekend, the
Lansing Community College Department of Theatre’s adaptation of John
Cariani’s “Almost, Maine” takes that idea and brings it to the stage, as
nine storylines follow a group of nearly 20 characters falling in and
out of love in the mythical titular town.
The show, which broke box office records during its Portland, Maine, premiere, is one of the most produced plays in North American high schools. This makes it perfect for a first semester theater studio class, according to director John Lepard. He said “Almost, Maine” was ideal for his class of 16 students, all of whom are trying to make theater their job in one way or another.
“It’s almost like it’s pre-made for these guys,” he said. “It’s a fun show.”
With the variety of storylines, Lepard was able to work with each group and then smoothly move on to another, directing it in the same style to keep them all on the same page.
“There’s not a lot of crossover (between characters),” he said. “Even though some of the characters do know each other.”
The 10-minute vignettes don’t have much in common except that they’re all in the same place, the tiny city of Almost, Maine.
Much like the Ginnifer Goodwin rom-com “He’s Just Not That Into You,” this show’s overall theme is about love and loss. According to Lepard, the show follows relationships in just about every stage, ranging from the giddy beginning with a couple just figuring out they like each other to a married couple that has sadly fallen out of love. It also covers breakups, such as a man that must finally get over his girlfriend, who’s about to get married to another man.
“It’s everything that you’ve been through in a relationship,” Lepard said.