Optimistically Cautious

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Shadow Theatre: "Almost, Maine"

I'd been looking forward to Almost, Maine for quite some time. Standing in somewhat for Teatro la Quindicina while I await the release of their new season, Shadow Theatre, also based at the Varscona Theatre, offers similar, if not just as quirky fare. From the website:

"Set in a mythical New England small town, Almost, Maine is a witty, insightful, delightful exploration of loves lost, found and mislaid."

I had heard that this play was one sweet confection, almost overly saccharine, and they weren't mistaken. But not every one of the eight vignettes were sentimental, so overall, I'd say Almost, Maine was for me, the equivalent to a warm cup of cocoa on a cold day.

The play is perfect for someone with a short attention span, as the scenes didn't last longer than fifteen minutes or so. I loved the visual metaphors for love - pillows in the scene titled "Getting it Back," quantified the 'amount' of love one gives to another, and in "They Fell," the literal act of falling to the ground accompanied the epiphany of realizing one's true emotion. It was great to see Jeff Haslam in a role that was genuinely less kooky than usual, and one that didn't require the wearing of a tight shirt (he'll be in the Edmonton Opera's H.M.S. Pinafore as well!). He was especially good in "Sad and Glad"; my heart broke for him as he encountered his ex for the first time - at her bachelorette party. The music was also a notable achievement - Chris Wynters' score delicately supported the beauty that is love, and could easily have a place amongst media larger than a community stage (my only nitpick - I could have done without the overly obvious "ding" that indicated the scene's turning point).

Almost, Maine was a lovely play - no pun intended.

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