The ECHO Players production of ‘Almost, Maine’ at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach runs through May 5. - Alistair McVey photo

Review: The Magic of ‘Almost, Maine’

ECHO Players production runs through May 5 at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach

By Linda Tenney

The current ECHO Players’ production at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach opens under clear winter skies tickled by a wondrous display of the Northern Lights.

Awestruck by the sight, two people sit side-by-side on a park bench in the mythical town of Almost, situated near the nothern border of Maine. And so it begins.

Comprised of eight scenes plus a prologue and epilogue, ‘Almost, Maine’ gives us a glimpse into the lives and loves of the town’s residents; ordinary people just like you and me. Director Don Harper makes good use of the play’s minimalist set design, allowing the weight of each scene to be carried by playwright John Cariani’s compelling dialogue instead; it’s witty, intelligent and human.

Interaction between the players is humorous at times, dramatic at others, and Harper’s directing skill is obvious; the scenes are well-rehearsed and superbly delivered by the 10 actors who portray the 19 roles in ‘Almost, Maine’.

RELATED: ECHO Players present ‘Almost, Maine’ starting April 18

Expect spot-on acting that truly brings Cariani’s believable characters to life. You may, in fact, have met a troubled couple like Phil and Marci (played by Douglas Aalseth and Jody Tkach); they might be your neighbours.

Or perhaps you know someone like Hope (played by Teresa Stanley) who made a choice in her youth that she now regrets.

You may have encountered people just like Cariani’s characters wandering in and out of your life, and certainly after seeing this play, the mythical residents of ‘Almost, Maine’ will forever be wandering around in your heart.

Metaphors and everyday expressions are given quirky form in this play.

Consider what ‘falling in love’ might actually look like. Or what all the love you’ve received might look like if bagged up and presented back to a long-time lover during the heat of a break-up – Cariani illustrates that in Scene 4, “Getting it Back”. And what if a wish on a star was actually granted as it is in Scene 6, “Where it Went”.

What seems to be an uncomplicated play actually serves up insightful commentary about the complexities of love, loss and everything in between.

Costuming is brilliantly kept to what you might wear yourself on a cold winter’s night in Maine. There is nothing to distract from Cariani’s invitation to become fully engrossed in the ostensibly ordinary situations on stage.

Look for a little magic injected into each scene. Like the aurora, it’s sometimes subtle but it’s there. Watch and recall your own feelings of anticipation, joy, trepidation, and perhaps even the anger you’ve felt when standing before someone you could love, have loved, or will love. In many ways, Cariani’s characters reflect our own experiences.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Almost, Maine’. I think you will, too.

The Northern Lights will continue to illuminate ‘Almost, Maine’ until May 5.

I suggest you pick up your tickets soon as talk of this excellent play will make them scarce.

Yes, it’s that good!

Tickets are available Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Village Theatre Box Office, 110 W. 2nd Avenue in Qualicum Beach, or get yours online at echoplayers.ca.

Linda Tenney is the publisher of EyesOnBC Magazine

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Soft Shore’ public art installation at Parksville city hall more expensive than planned

Plans to install centerpiece from MAC summer show hits roadblocks

Water flushing in Parksville runs until April

Residents can expect water discolouration

Mid Island Distance runners in fine form as season opens

Club competes at 10th annual Harry Jerome meet

Open house set for Feb. 20 to discuss planned cell tower in Qualicum Beach

Concerned resident has started petition in opposition

RDN considering development charges to go toward parks in rural areas

Motion deferred in order to allow for further consultation

WATCH: Man creates intricate replicas of Parksville-area buildings

Historic models currently on display at community centre

Nanaimo-bound ferry breaks down, but another available for service

Two sailings cancelled Sunday on Tsawwassen-Duke Point route

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Murder of sex worker exposes Canada’s hypocrisy on prostitution: advocate

A 2014 law made purchasing sex or benefiting from the selling of sex illegal

Wet’suwet’en return to northern B.C. forest road pipeline workers move through: First Nation

Opponents of a pipeline who support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have reoccupied camps at centre of arrests

BC Ferries gets injunction against demonstrations in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en

The preemptive injunction is a ‘last resort in the interest of public safety,’ spokesperson says

Most Read