Archikulture Digest

Almost, Maine

Almost, Maine

By John Cariani

Directed by Jim Howard

Orlando Theatre Project

at The John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center, Orlando FL</strong>

This is what a sucessful short play festival ought to look like. In the distant reaches of Township 13 Range 7, Maine life and love proceed in small slices. Glory (Darby Ballard) brings her broken heart in a paper bag to see the ghost of her husband leave earth in a blaze of northern lights on the front lawn of East (Doug Ballard). Jimmy (Ryan Gigliotti) notices his ex-girlfriend (Jennifer Christa Palmer) is remarrying but he’s accidently tattooed the name of his next girl friend on the forearm. Steve (Eric Pinder) can’t feel pain until Marvalyn (Allison DeCaro) beats it into him with her ironing board. Gayle (Krista Lynn Pigott) brings back all the love Lendell (David Jachin Kelley), and in return gets a much smaller box. Randy (Richard Width) and Chad (T. Robert Pigott) fall down, and realize the fall wasn’t really an accident. Phil (Mark Whitten) and Marci (Ame Livingston) finally hear the last the last shoe drop while ice skating, while Hope (S. Elizabeth Block) takes a cab all the way out to the middle of nowhere to find out she really IS nowhere. And Rhonda (Christine Decker) and Dave (Phillip Nolan) spend 5 minutes stripping off snowmobiling gear to find true lust. Bracketing this small town highlife we find Pete (Mark Lainer) and Ginette (Linda Landry) walk around the world on a snowball.

What do all these stories have in common? They’re all about love, and they all have an element of surrealism, and they’re all strong stand alone productions that loosely tie together a place out of time and space. The snows of winter pile high on stage, but no one tackles the down east accent – this is that odd space in Maine where everyone talks like there from TV land. The execution is superb, the stories mix humor and pathos, and the all-star audience is nearly as impressive as the cast.

Now for the bad news. While this show played to packed houses and drew a standing ovation, this is OTP’s last production. They’ve basically run out of money after 24 years, and threw in the towel. This was a fund raiser to try and cover some outstanding bills and provide for an orderly shutdown. This trip to snow country was bitter sweet – the show rocked, but now even the ghost light has been unplugged.

There is no more information on Orlando Theatre Project. Sorry.</em>

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