The Middletown High School Drama Club

Almost, Maine

by John Cariani
directed by Kevin Zahm
Performed May 13 & 14, 2011
Performed by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service.

Official Almost, Maine Home Page
New York Times review from 12/18/2010 that got my attention.

And, two excellent reviews: one on The Middletown Patch, courtesy of Olga Enger,
and one from our own school newspaper, The Wave, courtesy of Eve Houghton.

The Cast
Dan Bertel, Maggie Kerins
Her Heart
Andrew Stinson, Shannon Hugard
Sad and Glad
John Cunha, Michelle Fennewald, Jackie Tollefson
This Hurts
Jack Broderick, Julia Chille
Getting It Back
Dan Bertel, Cecelia Costello


Dan Bertel, Maggie Kerins

They Fell

Jack Broderick, John Cunha

Where It Went

Andrew Stinson, Lydia Bosch

Story of Hope

Jack Broderick, Rebecca Costello, Shannon Hugard

Seeing The Thing

John Cunha, Justice Miller


Dan Bertel, Maggie Kerins
The Crew
Stage Manager
Deejay Connerton

Sage Salvo

Lydia Burns
Stage Crew
Tyler Maitland, Gunnar Rice, Isaiah Robinson
Snack & Ticket Wranglers
Izzy Macomber, Molly Hawes (Friday)
Jess Gibb, Andie Cave, Katrina Fleischman, Chris Vaillancourt

The following pictures are courtesy of the Middletown Patch, (c) 2011 by Olga Enger and The Patch.
original link

Most importantly, THANK YOU to Olga and The Patch for helping us share our work!

Standing: Dan, Michelle, Isaiah, Deejay, Gunnar, Lydia
Sitting: Jack, Becky, John, Jackie (in red)
On the floor: Andrew, Shannon, Justice, Cecilia, Maggie, Sage
Pete & Ginette
East and Glory
Sandrine and Jimmy
Jimmy, alone (with root beer!)
Steve, and Marvalyn
The cast listening to their director. They're not actually listening, they're just acting like they are. Clever, aren't they?
Yes, we're clever.
Isaiah and Gunnar prepare the snow, if you get my drift
The Pictures we took...
Sitting: Andrew, Maggie, Justice, Cecilia, Jackie, John, Michelle
Standing: Becky, Shannon, Dan... ... ... ... ... and Jack
The Waitress
Phil & Marcie
Pete & Ginette
Lendall, Gayle, and lots of Love
Villian, Jimmy, and Sandrine
Marvalyn and Steve
The Cast - with everyone present, finally.

The Web Guy

MHS Drama Presents: Almost, Maine
By Eve Houghton

Almost, Maine is an ode to love in all forms—from chance encounters and infatuations to broken marriages and broken hearts. Set in the snowy reaches of Northern Maine, the play portrays the romantic adventures of a cast of loveable and eccentric characters. There is a dreamlike quality to the vignettes, rife with idiom and metaphor (a woman holds her “broken heart” in a bag; a couple use red balloons to symbolize the love they gave each other) while at the same time rooted in the realities of living in a small town with unforgiving weather. We see awkward meetings between old flames, a marriage in trouble, and a love lost by diverging life paths. This contrast stops the play from becoming cloyingly sweet. Comedy, romance, and drama sit comfortably alongside each other, and the men and women of Almost, Maine express their oddities without becoming caricatures.

John Cariani’s script is witty and charming, with plenty of laughs to go along with the more poignant moments. The MHS drama students bring the play to life with skill and enthusiasm. Senior Jack Broderick and freshman John Cunha both demonstrate extraordinary versatility as they switch between diverse roles. In a hilarious and oddly touching scene with senior Julia Chille, Broderick plays a man who can feel no pain and keeps a list of “Things That Can Hurt You.” A chance encounter at a Laundromat with a woman in an unhappy relationship (the excellent Chille) allows them both to become aware of their deeper feelings with the help of a kiss and an ironing board. The scene is a highlight of the play, and a triumph for MHS drama veterans Broderick and Chille. Another highpoint occurs when two friends (Broderick and Cunha) literally “fall” for each other. The scene is not only side-splittingly funny but a refreshing break from the hetero-centrism of the other vignettes.

All the actors deserve more credit than can be given in this space. Sophomore Dan Bertel is charmingly earnest, especially in his bookend scenes with freshman Maggie Kerins. Freshman Shannon Huggard provides a nuanced portrayal of an eccentric and lonely woman who steals into an unsuspecting man’s backyard to watch the Northern Lights. Senior Michelle Fennewald has good chemistry with freshman John Cunha in their excruciatingly awkward meeting as ex’s, and senior Jackie Tollefson is fun to watch as a perky waitress. Freshman Cecilia Costello and sophomore Rebecca Costello both portray slightly brittle women nonetheless possessed with a capacity to love. Senior Andrew Stinson is affecting and versatile, while freshman Lydia Bosch moves the audience with her portrayal of a woman seeking to escape her marriage. And sophomore Justice Miller brings the house down in her final scene with Cunha, a racy romp that deals humorously with the difficulties of cold weather clothes in intimate situations.

Sophomore Lydia Burns’ lighting provides a lovely, dreamlike feel. The music, managed by sophomore Sage Salvo, fades in and out unobtrusively, underscoring emotional moments when needed. And the efforts of stage manager Deejay Connerton, senior, and director Mr. Zahm are obvious in the smooth transitions between scenes and minimalist blocking. Almost, Maine is a triumph for the MHS drama program. The play is just the right amount of bitter and sweet, a poignant examination of the mysteries of the human heart.

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