Nine takes on love: Sac State Playwrights’ Theatre presents ‘Almost, Maine’

The Northern Lights spell romance for the residents of “Almost, Maine,” featuring Steven Amaral and Shelby Saumier. Credit: Sacramento State/Stephanie Conrad

The Northern Lights spell romance for the residents of “Almost, Maine,” featuring Steven Amaral and Shelby Saumier. Credit: Sacramento State/Stephanie Conrad

It’s a cold, moonless night in the mythical town of “Almost, Maine,” and the residents are falling in and out of love, getting bruised knees and broken hearts in hilarious ways. John Cariani’s play is coming to Sac State’s Playwrights’ Theatre on campus, 6000 J St. Directed by Michelle Felten, performances are Oct. 23-27 and Oct. 30-Nov. 3. Tickets are $5-$12, available at the Sac State Ticket office, (916) 278-4323 or www.csus.edu/sfsc/ticketoffice/. Contact (916) 278-6368.
“Almost, Maine” is a series of nine amiable and sometimes absurd vignettes about love, during one magical evening in the mythical town of Almost, Maine during the Aurora Borealis.  It is whimsical, charming, and very funny with a touch of magical realism, and a touch of the Cohen brothers mixed in, making for a very entertaining evening.  
Six actors — Jacob Garcia, Shelby Saumier, Steven Amaral, Tiffanie Mack, Natalie Jones, Urias Davis — play the 19 different roles and all of the events of the play happen at the same time. Felten said she casts these particular actors for their comic skills and their innate sensibility for the material, which requires honest communication skills, spontaneous responses, and physical commitment. “We have been having a great time working on the show!”
Stage manager Megan Aldrich said she enjoys the emotional roller coaster this show takes you on. “One minute, it has you laughing hysterically and the next it’s yanking on your heart strings. This play is just so honest and I think it’s a very relatable story. With nine different vignettes, there really is a story in this show for everyone.”
In the Prologue/Interlogue/Epilogue, a young couple, in love, learns what being close and getting closer is all about.
In scene two, titled Her Heart, a young woman searches for closure in the front yard of an experienced “fix-it” guy, but can he mend her broken heart?
In the third scene, “Getting it Back”, a couple, in love, explore the tangible qualities of loving, giving, and “getting it back” to comedic effect.
In scene four, “This Hurts”, two very different people find a common bond after an ironing board brings them together.
In the fifth scene, “Sad and Glad”, Jimmy knows he’s in love, but has he chosen the right woman?  Only his tattoo has the answer.
In the following scene, “They Fell”, two regular guys find love where they least expect it.
In the scene “The Story of Hope”, a young woman arrives on the doorstep of her ex-boyfriend to answer the most important question of her life, but is she too late?
In scene eight, “Where it Went”, viewers come back with the feeling that sometimes the best choice in love is letting go. Lastly we are left with the questions – Is it road kill?  Is it art?  Or is it love?
This is the first time Aldrich has ever been a stage manager and it’s something she’s been dreaming about for a very long time. She worked her way up by starting off as an assistant stage manager at Washington State University so she could learn the ropes. Then when she got to Sac State, she started off as a spot light operator and then ASM again.
“I think I proved I could handle this position when I took over one of Sac State’s theater clubs, Dramatist Society, as president last spring,” she said. “So when Professor Felten asked me to be her stage manager, it was literally like a dream come true. Stage management isn’t a walk in the park though. You have to be everything to everyone at all times. You have to be an authority figure they respect, a shoulder to cry on when things get rough, a confidant so people realize they can trust, etcetera, etcetera. The list goes on forever. So I really just try to take one day at a time, because this is a learning process for me too. But so far, so good. I’m very excited to keep pushing forward.”

editor@valcomnews.com