Five out of Five Lobsters: Almost, Maine

Amy Balmuth Though I occasionally frequent the Wrigley Theater outside our copious gatherings, I wouldn’t call myself a fanatic, zealot or diehard. However, I do enjoy wordplay, whimsy and the state of Maine—making the student run production of Almost, Maine a sincerely wonderful experience. I didn’t quite know what to expect as I took my seat the night of the show, having only the knowledge of intimidating Muller/Garrett gathering announcements and a short preview. Specifically, I didn’t know that high school acting could produce such a polished finish product. But student directors Margie Muller and Kristen Garrett really pulled through—the show was great, or even “hysterical” according to Amanda Orenstein. As a romantic comedy enthusiast, the balance between wit and sincerity was exquisite—I found myself chuckling and cooing all in the same scene (it was quite an emotional rollercoaster). I think that’s what made the show so appealing to me and many others in the audience; we were transported, willfully, away from the stress of our everyday lives to a northeastern paradise where love was real—all without leaving our seats. I think that exact reason is part of the reason Margie and Kristen chose the play. “It’s up to the actors to create the show, because even though it is kind of surreal, it’s ultimately about love, and how people deal with love, and all the magic stuff that comes second to that” says Kristen. “So I was really excited to get really incredible performances out of the actors, because I knew it was a show that could resonate with the audience—because everyone has experienced something like one of the scenes.” Recognizing the acting finesse of the performers is inevitable—they were really fantastic, successfully portraying relationships and scenarios light-years beyond their maturity level. Without such fine actors, I can’t imagine the piece having the impact that it did on myself and others. In a surprising twist and a refreshing change of pace, this year’s student run was surprisingly graphic. The kissing scenes succeeded in shocking the audience, as gasps could be heard (which were promptly followed by laughter, in many a scene). But for me, this little quirk of the show only contributed to the uniqueness. We’re mature high school young adults, and we can handle this. So to close, I’d like to congratulate all involved in this year’s student run production of Almost, Maine. The show was unique—quirky, if you will—and successfully executed by such a dedicated cast. If it were up to me, I’d give it five out of five lobsters.  ]]>