by John Cariani
13 - March 7, 2009
Directed by Brett Young
Maine" is a remote locale in northern Maine where
folks are falling in and out of love at an alarming rate on one particular
Almost is not
quite a town because, as a character explains: "You’re
in an unorganized territory, Township Thirteen, Range Seven. See, to be a town,
you gotta get organized. And we never got around to gettin'
organized, so…we're just Almost."
"almost" can conjure either
a feeling of loss or brimming hope, and both of those feelings run through the
nine different romantic encounters in the play. With a whimsical approach, each
story explores gaining or losing love, perhaps discovering love where it is
least expected or not recognizing where it had always been. All of the stories
are also connected by time, as each is occurring at 9 p.m. on the same Friday
night in the middle of winter. Another connecting thread is the strong physical
reaction different characters have to the complications of love.
gets an odd tattoo, another carries around shards of her broken heart in a bag
after her husband’s betrayal, two young men are literally struck to the ground
when they discover their hidden feelings for each other, and one character who
cannot feel pain suddenly experiences both pain and love due to a hilarious
ironing board accident.
Cariani is probably best-known as an actor, most notably for a recurring role on
"Law and Order" and his
award-winning turn on Broadway in the 2004 revival of "Fiddler
on the Roof." He complained once to his mother that he
wasn’t too keen on many of the new plays he was seeing. He thought that they
were too New York-centric and there was a lot more world to portray than just
New York City. His mother replied, "Well, don't
complain about that unless you're willing to do
something about it." And so he began to write
backstage during his down time.
ALMOST, MAINE was inspired by his memories of growing
up in Presque Isle, Maine, an 11-12 hour drive north of NYC. Cariani says:
"Where I grew up had a huge influence on me. It's
a place where there aren't many people and there's
lots of sky. The world feels much bigger there somehow. New York is all about
people and the things people make. Presque Isle is the opposite. It's
about the things people don't make – like the sky and
the woods and wide open space. So the play is mostly a tribute to that place – a
place where there seems to me so much possibility because there's
time and space to daydream."