‘Almost Maine’ combines heart with unique plot

Realistic moments in reality-breaking settings are the focal point of “Almost Maine,” the Belmont theater department’s first performance of the semester.

The John Cariani-penned play revolves around a cold Friday night in the middle of winter in the mythical town of Almost, Maine. The different scenes each explore an aspect of the human experience of love.

“The show is very symbolic and thematic,” said Brent Maddox, assistant professor of theater and director of the show. “There is a magical moment that is beyond reality but very much so rooted in the reality of these characters. They handle it with honesty, believability and it’s all very much so real to them.”

The show runs Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 4-5 at 7:30 p.m. Afternoon matinees will also be shown Saturday and Sunday and Oct. 6-7 at 2 p.m.

“Essentially, the production is the compilation of nine separate scenes that all happen at 9 p.m. Friday night,” said Maddox. “The show will run as one scene after another, and in each moment there is a different crisis.”

Because of the unusual plot structure, there are only eight cast members – five women and three men. Each member will portray at least two different characters.

“There are no main characters in this show,” said Maddox. “There is not one character that remains throughout the entire show because each scene is a different moment occurring at 9 p.m.”

While the show has strong human qualities, he is determined to bring the audience away from reality as well by heightening the symbolic and theatric elements of the production through set design.

“The entire stage will be shaped as though it’s a huge snow globe,” Maddox said. “There will be magic in the flow of the production because the audience will never see the set crew. The idea is to make these scenes appear as moments, so the set will be shaken up like a snow globe during each transition.”

Fake snow, blowing wind and various technical devices will be used to make set pieces roll off or fly into the snow globe.

“There will be an overall magical feel of the shaking of a snow globe; you don’t see how it changes, it just changes,” said Maddox.

While the set design and several set pieces will be used to create a mystical production vibe, Maddox also wants to develop an authentic connection with the audience.

“The characters are extremely real, extremely honest and the circumstances they find themselves in are extremely believable and relatable,” Maddox said. “But at the same time, every moment is heightened.”

“Almost Maine” will combine the magic of a snow globe and the authentic emotions that humans face throughout love and life simultaneously, Maddox said.

“This story is very relatable,” said Maddox. “The audience will experience the actors finding love for the first time, falling in love, falling out of love, getting their heart broken, missing opportunities and regret. It all comes back to relationships and love. This show explores the struggles of love, which will relate and speak directly to the Belmont audience.”

Belmont students will receive free admission and Culture and Arts convocation credit for attending the show.

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