We have been unabashed advocates for One Song Productions for three years. The group, comprised entirely of high schoolers (and some college students) from the Chapel Hill area, with only high schoolers on their board of directors, has consistently put up shows that have achieved high theatrical standards. Almost, Maine by John Cariani lives up to our previously expressed expectations.
The show originally opened in Portland, Maine in 2004, played Off-Broadway for a short while, and subsequently has become the most produced play in North American high schools. This is easy to understand, because the subject is love. Falling in love, falling out of love, expressing love, losing love, controversial love, and the various vicissitudes of love. And it is funny. And it allows for a fairly large cast, piece-mealed out through nine mini-plays and three small-but-related vignettes. Oh, and did we say it’s funny?
First of all, director Anastasia LeDuc, a high school junior, chose an excellent cast of 20 from among a “record number of students who showed up at the Chapel Hill Library for auditions.” She then, with the assistance of John Dews, put them through the required paces to turn out snappy, natural-feeling, easy-flowing slices-of-life.
Her props master, Jax Preyer, and light and sound operator, Maddie Wiener, do excellent jobs; and costumer designers Bryna Loranger and Julia Perkins displayed a focus on details that included winter weather gear, long underwear, and sweatshirts from University of Maine and one with a moose. In all, the entire production was a worthy contribution to theater performance in the area.
Through all nine scenes, attention was given to spacing, silences, tensions and release, timing, physical contact, and line delivery with acute accuracy. We have reluctantly decided not to try to pick out several outstanding performers for the simple reason that all of them were outstanding. Director Anastasia LeDuc and the entire One Song Productions company deserve the highest of accolades for their work, and so we are going to list every one of them.
Brava and Bravo to Simone Speizer, James Perkins, Michael Combs, Samantha Lane, Henry L. Morfeld, Eden Bartholomew, Claire Lancaster, Chloe Roth, Micah Segal-Miller, Lizzie McLamb, Max Martine, Jason Glover, Nick Morfeld, Dean Kivotidis, Anna Zurliene, Eli Rissberger, Camille Witt, Laura Cheney, Maddie Wasson, and Chase Sieradzan. All the other technical work was well executed.
One more time, we put in a plea for One Song Productions to put their wonderful shows up for two weekends. Their fine work needs more exposure.
Common Ground Theatre is often pretty cold, which worked fine for a show that occurred mostly out of doors in the high reaches of Maine; but it could be a couple of degrees warmer for other shows — please?
SECOND OPINION: Nov. 30th Raleigh, NC Triangle Review preview by Martha Keravuori and Chuck Galle: http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2015/11/one-song-productions-will-stage-almost-maine-on-dec-3-5-at-common-ground-theatre-in-durham/
One Song Productions presents ALMOST, MAINE at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 and 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at Common Ground Theatre, 4815B Hillsborough Rd., Durham, North Carolina 27705.
TICKETS: $8-$10 suggested donation.
SHOW: https://www.facebook.com/events/1517043341943350/ and http://cgtheatre.com/events.
2015-16 SEASON: http://www.1songproductions.org/current-season.html.
PRESENTER: http://www.1songproductions.org/, https://www.facebook.com/pages/One-Song-Productions/136779861220, and https://twitter.com/onesongtheatre.
VENUE: http://www.cgtheatre.com/, https://www.facebook.com/cgtheatre, and https://twitter.com/CGTheatre919.
Almost, Maine (2004 Portland Stage Company and 2006 Off-Broadway romantic comedy): http://www.almostmaine.com/ (official website), http://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=3759 (Dramatists Play Service, Inc.), http://www.lortel.org/ (Internet Off-Broadway Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almost,_Maine (Wikipedia).
The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).
Study Guide: http://www.milwaukeerep.com/education/documents/almostmaine_000.pdf (Milwaukee Repertory Theater).
John Cariani (playwright): http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=117724 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.lortel.org/ (Internet Off-Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm137121/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cariani (Wikipedia).
Anastasia LeDuc (director): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1831500861 (Facebook page).
Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on his website: http://www.chuckgalle.com/. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori review theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Boom! Magazine and here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.