Almost, Maine takes Summerland's Centre Stage

Vance Potter and Christa Phillips rehearse a scene from Almost, Maine, a Summerland Singers and Players production on the Janet Ritchie Centre Stage Theatre in Summerland March 27-30. - Submitted Photo
Vance Potter and Christa Phillips rehearse a scene from Almost, Maine, a Summerland Singers and Players production on the Janet Ritchie Centre Stage Theatre in Summerland March 27-30.
— image credit: Submitted Photo

On a cold, clear night in the middle of winter, Almost’s residents find themselves falling in and out of love in the strangest ways and the Summerland Singers and Players invite you to watch.

The acting troupe is bringing the series of nine vignettes called Almost, Maine to Centre Stage Theatre March 27 to 30. Almost is described as a town that is so far north, it’s almost not in the United States — it’s almost in Canada. And, it almost doesn’t exist because its residents never got around to getting organized. So it’s just, Almost.

The play is performed by four actors (James Fofonoff, Colleen Fox, Christa Phillips and Vance Potter) who take on 17 different roles telling of love and loss in the remote community.

Knees are bruised, hearts are broken, love is lost, found and confounded. The life for the people of Almost, Maine will never be the same.

“This play is quite new in the world of theatre and I was brought to the attention of it by my friend as something I should read,” said director Jacqueline Koenig. “I took it with me on a flight to Ottawa and literally was laughing and then crying every 10 minutes. It is so great.”

Almost, Maine was written by playwright John Cariani and received its world premier at Portland Stage Company, where it broke box office records and garnered critical acclaim.

To date, it has been produced by over 2,000 theatre companies in the U.S., and by dozens more internationally, making it one of the most frequently produced plays of the past decade.

Cariani has been nominated for a Tony Award and appeared on and off Broadway, in several films and televisions shows. He became known for an offbeat comedy show Cariani and his friends would perform and noticed many of them were surreal love stories set in Maine.

He said, “there’s a play here. Almost.”

“It definitely is not your traditional production with one continuous story. Here we have nine stories taking about 10 minutes each. I’m actually a little envious of the actors taking on the challenge of playing all these different roles in one play. From an actor’s perspective I would have jumped at a chance to be in a show like this,” said Koenig.

The director said the play is about how love comes in all different shapes, sizes and forms.

“The actors need to have a really good relationship on stage to work off each other and trust each other to get through the emotional scenes. We are lucky to have four fantastic actors that are dynamic and have a great chemistry,” said Koenig.

With so many different story lines, Koenig said Almost, Maine offers something for everyone.

“I definitely believe that even the men that get dragged to the theatre by their wives will find something to connect with,” she said.

The play runs from March 27 to 30 at Centre Stage Theatre in Summerland. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with a matinee on the Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available in Summerland at the Summerland Arts Centre and Good Omens and in Penticton at Dragon’s Den.

Summerland Singers and Players will be entering the production into the Theatre B.C. Okanagan Zone Festival in Vernon held May 11 to 18.

The winner of the zones festival will proceed onto the Annual Provincial Theatre Festival.

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