Bucknell’s production of ‘Almost, Maine’ isn’t the play you’d expect, but in the best way possible
‘We’re just Almost’
The first scene opens with two women sitting on a bench in the middle of the stage. There are no props, other than winter jackets and some cotton snow, but it's easy to visualize a park during winter. In a place that's not quite a town in Maine, but 'Just Almost,' each of the nine stories about love is that simple.
Two people (sometimes three), hardly any furniture or props, and a ton of imagination. The actors use idioms, like 'falling in love' or 'a broken heart,' and make them literal in a hilarious take on love.
In the second scene, a woman, Glory, has traveled to Maine to see the northern lights to pay respects to her deceased husband. Having read that people from Maine are welcoming and hospitable, she chooses to camp out in a random woman's backyard.
Clearly unfamiliar with the fact that people in Maine are still (somewhat) normal people, she explains, 'I'm from part of the country that's a bit closer to things.' In a hilarious exchange, Glory reveals that the little sack she's been clutching to her chest has her heart in it, but since it's broken, she has to carry it around in a little bag.
In another scene, two men who have been best friends for a while are sitting under the stars drinking beer and reminiscing about their terrible nights. As one confesses his love for the other, he falls over. Love suddenly becomes tangible. Soon after, the second man falls over, though a second before he was berating the first for falling. The scene closes with them trying to get up, but physically unable.
Each story leads into the next with soft guitar and ukulele music and a woman singing, and as the audience realizes they all connect to the others, they get a sense of just how small this town is that they've chosen to watch for a night.
While 'Almost, Maine' traditionally consists of mostly heterosexual couples, This production dealt with their lack of male cast members in a creative way, making almost none of the couples heterosexual. The stories are not about the struggles of same-sex love, the couples just are.
The end of the show comes full circle, finishing with the end of the first story. Throughout the play, the entirely first year cast makes you forget that it's September in Pennsylvania, taking you North through these people's imaginary houses, bars (including the famous Moose Patty) and snowmobiles. It's definitely a show worth seeing, either at Bucknell or off campus. The hilarity and empathetic nature of the whole show is a testament to how much Bucknell Theater can do with so little.