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The Blue & Gray Press | April 19, 2018

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'Almost, Maine' a Pleasure to Watch

by Rebecca Poole

Audiences received a “very warm Maine welcome” from Studio 115’s production of “Almost, Maine” on Valentine’s weekend. “Almost, Maine” portrays the cringe-worthy and awkward moments in romantic relationships.

Studio 115 was a perfect and intimate setting with string lights for the play. Sophmore cast member Kalyna Jowyk provided the plot line in a nutshell. “It is nine scenes of people dealing with love simultaneously on a Friday night,” Jowyk said. Each of the nine scenes comes to life from the very first “I love you.”

These mini-stories are similar to movies like “Paris, je t’aime,” “New York, I Love You”, and “Valentine’s Day” because they show the dynamics of many different relationships. However, “Almost, Maine” has only four actors playing these couples, and they flawlessly shift from one character to the next.

Jowyk plays a variety of female characters, from a wife who wants to rejuvenate her marriage to a tomboy who is hesitant about taking her friendship to the next level. Jowyk found the character of Rhonda, the tomboy, the hardest to play due to the character’s similarities to her personality.

Jowyk’s fellow cast member, junior Magan Carrigan, effectively portrays strong-willed women who are trying to find love. Juniors Cameron Doucette and Taylor Williams play all of the adorable, clueless men in this play. They both bring their various characters to life, so much so that some enjoyed the performances, while others— especially females— cringed. The acting made the outrageous stories in “Almost Maine” believable.

“Almost Maine” is senior Maggie Bausch’s directorial debut for the University of Mary Washington’s theatre department. She did, however, direct a modern rendition of “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” at UMW’s amphitheater. Bausch has also acted in several plays at UMW. Bausch first thought the script was “too sweet,” but she realized the play’s “magical ability when performed to be real.”

A fellow play enthusiast, Colin Manning, said, “I liked it. The acting was very well done,” Manning said. “Considering how many characters each person had to play makes it more impressive. There were small things, on the technical side, that were used that were very effective too, such as the star lights hung above the audience and the lighting of the northern lights.”

With a cozy setting that allowed the audience to feel like a part of the play, swift scene changes, the great acting and directing and subtle light changes, “Almost, Maine” is a hit and a pleasure to watch.