Pictured (L-R): Peter Carlone, Kim Larson, Giovanni Mocibob, Baraka Rahmani, Jalen Saip
After October hits it’s a whirlwind of holidays until suddenly it’s the new year. Halloween and Thanksgiving zipped right past me and while I’m preparing for exam weeks, it seems like the rest of the world is warming up to the holidays season. And what better way to celebrate than with a sweet, relatable rom-com anthology to warm your heart?
Almost, Maine by John Cariani is reminiscent of a couple holiday-themed films like Love, Actually and New Years Eve, but this play was a lot more subtle and, I hate to say it, wholesome. There is a scene where a character talks about whether or not to be afraid of everyday things that can potentially hurt him, but not dangerous otherwise. I was expecting the rest of the play to explore the idea further with love, and how it’s still worth it after all the pain. However, Cariani managed to keep most of them cute, relatable and light, even the ones about heartbreaks and regrets.
I always have a hard time following every character’s story in anthologies, even with different actors, but I was pleasantly surprised to be following along the 18 characters pretty well with only 5 actors. Partly it was because each story was contained within itself instead of all of them happening at once, but it was highly enjoyable to see the actors change like chameleons right before my eyes.
Shoutout definitely goes to Lauchlin Johnston, the Set and Lighting Designer, whom I had the pleasure of talking to and congratulate in person after the show. The “magic realism” part really shined thanks to his spectacular, whimsical snow white set and props with paint splattered on them, hanging on the ceiling by threads. It was minimalistic yet complicated, and it brings a smile to my face thinking about them painting the props one by one and splattering paint all over it, then hanging it up on the ceiling like any yearly Christmas tree ritual.