Welcome to ‘Almost, Maine’: Fourth Wall’s spring production explores love and loss
April 5, 2023
In a small town in northern Maine, under the glow of the northern lights, figures of speech become literal and clichés become a reality. Quinnipiac University’s student-run Fourth Wall Theater transported audiences to the town of “Almost, Maine” during its spring production.
In a series of short vignettes, the cast of “Almost, Maine” delivered performances about love and relationships. The March 31-April 2 run featured an eight-person ensemble cast who each played several separate roles.
The show opens with a short scene about a couple, Pete, played by senior theater major Alice Mahon, and Ginette, played by junior film, television and media arts major Kira Beckerman, stargazing on a snowy winter night.
Pete tells Ginette that though they appear close, sitting next to one another, they are further away than anyone on Earth as there is a whole planet’s circumference between them, so you’d have to walk around the planet to truly be together.
Ginette takes the ridiculous assertion seriously, and though she appears to leave Pete lonely, she returns at the end of the play, having seemingly walked around the globe to prove her love.
Pete and Ginette’s story sets the tone for “Almost, Maine,” as each scene introduces us to new characters taking a cliché a little too literally.
Beckerman played the characters Ginette, Marvalyn and Suzette in “Almost, Maine,” her first Fourth Wall production.
“Everyone had multiple characters, so it was really fun to be able to build all different worlds with all different characters and just let out different sides of yourself through your characters,” Beckerman said.
Mahon, who is also the president of Fourth Wall, played the characters Jimmy, a heartbroken bachelor, and Phil, an unhappy husband, in addition to Pete. Mahon said the cast formed their characters around their own personalities and theories about the characters.
“There’s a lot of ways to put (‘Almost, Maine’) on,” Mahon said. “It’s very abstract. You can do whatever you want with it, really.”
“Almost, Maine” is a short and sweet play staged simply, yet effectively by director Emma Bender, a junior theater major.
One of the show’s best moments is when best friends Deena and Shelly fall for each other — literally.
Shelly, played by junior 3+1 film, television and media arts major Lauren Sweeney, falls flat on her face after confessing her love to Haley Ruccio’s Deena. Ruccio, a sophomore 3+1 film, television and media arts major, delivers a convincing performance as a best friend hesitant to accept her friend’s confession — that is, until she falls on her face herself.
“Almost, Maine” also explores the themes of broken hearts, failed marriages and moving on.
In an early scene, East, a lonesome repairman, and Glory, a hiker searching for the northern lights, collide when Glory decides to set up camp in East’s backyard, claiming that the pamphlet she read about Maine said that the people would be welcoming and wouldn’t mind a stray camper.
East, played by molecular and cell biology graduate student Khorbin Kern and Glory, depicted by Jess Clark, a junior media studies major, appear fated for one another.
Soon, we find out that Glory took the long journey to Almost to honor a former partner. He left Glory, leaving her with a literal shattered heart that she carries around in a brown paper bag. When West returns begging for forgiveness, Glory breaks his heart, killing him.
In perhaps the most tender moment of the show, the repairman East tells Glory that he can fix her heart, representing new beginnings.
Kern, who also played Lendall and Danny in the production, said that this moment with East and Glory is among his favorites in the whole show.
“Seeing the different ways that love can be portrayed, because that’s what this entire show is about, different metaphors about love, and some of them (are) happier, some of them sadder and overall, it’s just about love,” Kern said.
The Fourth Wall production of “Almost, Maine,” has the potential to make audiences laugh and cry at the same time. However they feel, it’s certain that audiences came out of the show wanting to know more about the interesting yet fleeting characters.
“It’s okay to laugh,” Mahon said. “(‘Almost, Maine’ is) really silly (and) goofy. “I mean, it’s okay to feel sad, but it’s also just goofy.”