Most human beings may agree with me when I say relationships are one of the most testing yet rewarding parts of life. Any relationship, whether it be a friendship, a relationship with a Significant Other (see what I did there), or a relationship with a family member can impact our lives in so many ways. When interacting with others you can learn equally as much about yourself as you can about the person you’re spending time with. This is the rewarding part, the satisfying warmth of connecting with someone else on levels you never thought possible.
Now not to forget about the other parts, because those are equally important. No successful relationship can exist without a little friction, some arguments, discomforts, and airing of grievances. All of these processes are natural and we’ve all experienced them in some way, shape, or form. These two roads of trials and errors converge to form the balance of the qualities that make connections so meaningful. These are the lessons we learn from a show like “Almost, Maine”.
But, did you click on this link to read a blog post with my vague relationship theory/ advice? Literally absoluely no you did not. Did you read this far, I hope so. Let’s get on with it then.
“Almost, Maine” is a play told in nine short vignettes that take on all of these ups and downs, telling the stories of various locals and their complex relationships that occur simulatneously during one night in an intimate snowy town. Kindly put on your snowboots and follow me down this path of me convincing you as to why you should see Cabaret Theatre’s first mainstage of the year, “Almost, Maine”.
One of my absolute favorite things about Cabaret is how each time I walk into the space to walk a tech week run through I am completely surprised at the transformation the space can achieve from show to show. Director Nina Tripodi has truly done a stunning job of bringing Maine to New Brunswick, New Jersey and you will certainly understand what I mean when you go to see the show yourself. There is not much more I want to say about that, as to protect the suprise and of course keep my dear readers on their toes…
I did, however, want to know what inspried Nina to direct this show in the first place:
“I had heard of Almost, Maine before, of course, but when I finally read it this summer, it felt like fate. Every single page of this script had bits of my life hidden on nearly every page, and I knew that other people would feel the same way, but every person would feel the same way for different reasons.”
And Nina is absolutely right. This show is a combination of sweet and sappy, serious and sad, and comically relatable. I smiled often, laughed, furrowed my brow, and thought introspectively, not in that order, throughout the run I got to watch. I was quite honestly surprised at how much I found myself seeing me in one of the character’s, or the reflection of a friend and an experience they had. The stories truly pertain to all of us.
Carson Cummings, Assistant Director, offered me more as to why these scenes feel so personal for the audience,
“In my mind, every vignette transports audience members back to a memory from the past or even to a dream for the future in which they've felt something similar. The emotions of "Almost, Maine" are not exaggerated or rom-com style. They're subtle and real and that's what makes them so beautiful.”
I mean come on, Nina and Carson are practially writing this blog for me.
I’ve found while writing this blog that everyone here is on the same page. Not only are these stories personal for the viwer, but they also created a strong driving force for each of the actor's performances. The connections the actors were obviously able to form with the characters they were portraying strenghtened the believability of the show, even in its most metaphorical moments. As my friend Jack Oliver touched upon, these characters are not only experiencing the joys of life, but also the tribulations that can change your course, for better or for worse.
“There is nothing perfect about "Almost, Maine," and that will become clear to the audience very quickly. Every scene includes some sort of visible pain. Some are lucky and walk away happy. Others walk away hurt — hopeless, confused, full of fear. And these familiar feelings and experiences will resonate with every single person watching this in one way or another. It's a beautiful thing to recognize these experiences, though. It's the only way we allow ourselves to grow and learn, and we become better people because of it.” -Josh Rosenzweig
I swear we should just let the cast members write their own blog from now on. These folks are very well spoken.
LuisDiego is right, “Almost, Maine” will give you your fix. You will walk away from the show warmed by the stark real life relatability and fairytale mysticality that seems to blanket the town and their stories. And, if you’re not like LuisDiego and you aren’t a huge fan of love or connection, you’ll still be able to enjoy the all around amazing production that this show is. From the lighting, to every costume detail and every prop and joke, you won’t regret taking a trip to Almost, Maine this weekend.
Now one last thing before I close out this blog: I promised some of the cast I would highlight the hard work of the people that made this show possible. That’s you prostaff! Nina Tripodi, Carson Cummins, Sabrina Dunn, Thomas Pflanz, Elisa Leung… job. well. done. And to the director’s…
“Nina is an absolutely killer director, I was very comfortable from my first rehearsal into where I am now. I didnt feel like I was putting on an act and just reading some lines, Nina helped me push my performance further and feel as they feel” - LuisDiego Millan
“Carson Cummins is an absolute wizard with what she has done on this show. I've seen her work in scenic design, costume design and lighting design while also being such a present voice in character discussion during rehearsal. She has truly epitomized the dream Assistant Director and should be used as reference for anyone interested in doing the absolute most on a pro staff” - Jack Oliver
Congratulations to the entire cast and crew, a lovely way to kick off a mainstage season.
There is a place in Almost, Maine for all of us. find yours this weekend at Cabaret Theatre!
“Almost, Maine” opens this Thursday at Cabaret Theatre
Show Dates: Thursday November 7th 9pm, Friday November 8th 8pm, Satruday November 9th 8pm, Sunday November 10th 7pm
Tickets are available for purchase at:
For more information visit our Facebook event page:
Photos courtesy of John Hennessy