by Hannah Piazza
Almost, Maine has been the most produced play in North American high schools in both the school years of 2009-2010 and 2011-2012. That is the only thing I knew when I walked into the auditorium to see Long Beach High School’s production of this well-known play. I knew that it had been done and done well and that it was a typical high school drama.
The actual story consists of a series of love scenes. Each scene had a few simple consistencies: there were two characters in each scene (with the exception of one) and there is one common theme, love. All of the characters are experiencing some sort of love dilemmas. We experience stories of unrequited love, new love, dangerous love and lost love. The layout is simple and the plot is perfectly consistent with other plays we’ve seen Mrs. Krywe direct: a bit of drama, some comedic relief, and always, a love story.
Before Act One, the show opened with Christian Musto and Sophie Allen setting the scene and foreshadowing the complexity and fragility of maintaining a romantic relationship. A perfect way to start the play, both actors left the audience wanting more. The first act was entertaining.
We followed Anna Falvey’s character through a mental breakdown and Max Tunney’s character as he tried to calm her and court her. We met Tom Marsden, as his character tried to win back the heart of Kayla McAvoy, who played the ‘one that got away’. The scene, between Tom and Kayla’s characters was the only scene to have another character on stage. The setting was a restaurant and the extra person was Emily Crean. She was a sassy and salty waitress, and even though this was her first drama production, she did not look like a newcomer. Her appearance in this scene was just a taste of what was to come in Act Two.
The next scene brought a tough Annie Gloeggler and a confused Christian Musto to the stage. Their scene was our first experience with ‘dangerous love.’ Between the allusions to an abusive relationship and the innocence of a fragile man, this scene was one that left the audience saddened and confused.
Act One ended with a more light-hearted and less realistic depiction of a relationship. Megan Micciotta graced the stage, almost unrecognizable, with her counterpart Tom Marsden. Together, they acted out a light-hearted love quarrel that ended in a proposal. Finally, this brought the plays first happy ending.
If Act One was entertaining, Act Two was emotional. It opened with, of course, two people sitting on stage. The difference in this scene was that, the two people were both young men. In a humorous and unashamed fashion, Tom Marsden and Christian Musto did a wonderful job of acting out two boys “falling” in love with each other.
The next scene was one that I definitely wasn’t prepared for. This opened with Emma Thurston and Max Tunney as a married couple. As the scene continues, you can almost feel your heart break as their marriage falls apart. Between Emma’s screaming and Max’s anger, it felt as though we were watching two people actually break up. This was the most emotional story that played out, and as the lights went down and the next scene was set up, there were tears in my eyes. After the emotional encounter between the two previous characters, I expected the storyline to lighten up a bit.
I realized that wasn’t the case as Sarah Colletti, playing a traveled woman named Hope, comes back to learn that the man she loved is now married. Steven Roberts played Dave, the boy who after having his heart broken by Hope, breaks hers in return. The lights go out and when they come back up, Emily Crean is back on stage.
She is accompanied this time by Jonathan Kapilian. Emily’s character is back in the spotlight, where she belongs. Finally, the show ended with its funniest scene. There was stripping and painting and it was a little bit sexual, but I loved every bit of it.
The epilogue brought the play full circle and successfully brought the entire play together. After all the emotion of Act Two, it ended well. This production was well directed and the performance was more than standard. The cast added their own touches to the play in their displays of intimacy and in their humor.
Overall, a job well done. If you didn’t come down to see it this weekend, you really missed out! But don’t you worry; LBHS will be producing Hairspray, the Musical, in February!