“Almost Maine,” almost perfect

Photo courtesy of SRJC Theatre Dept.

Faith Gates, Co-Editor-in-Chief


Don’t be deterred that Santa Rosa Junior College’s production of “Almost, Maine” is held in a small auditorium rather than a big theater, for the Newman Auditorium creates an intimate setting that draws into a closer look of the character’s lives.

“Almost, Maine” by John Cariani depicts relationships that experience different perceptions of love simultaneously as the northern lights appear in the sky of the town Almost, Maine. The story, directed by John Shillington, shows nine different scenes of couples who portray their experiences of love through literal metaphors. Whether it is falling in love or love lost, the play takes you through the ups and downs of love.

The play might seem modest tucked away in Newman Auditorium at the Santa Rosa campus. While plays are usually held in the 700-seat Burbank Auditorium, Newman only seats 198. Though the props may be limited and simple, and in such a small space, the cast interpreted the storyline in a funny and heartfelt way to show there is more to plays than the glitz and glamour.

Upon entering the auditorium, the band Take Jack transports you to the feel of a wintery, woodsy environment by performing folksy covers of songs to get you in the mood.

Once the play begins, each scene leaves you laughing and relating it to your own life, but there is a deeper meaning within. One couple deals with the issue of a literal broken heart while another materializes the amounts of love you give people. No topic is spared from this play, as there is a gay couple, where two guy best friends realize they are both literally falling in love with each other. Whereas the jokes will keep you laughing in the moment, the hidden meanings and deeper messages behind each scene will leave you pondering and comparing similar situations in your own life for days to come.

These messages wouldn’t have been revealed without the expressive talent of the wonderful cast of SRJC students. Although there were more men than women in the cast, the women outshone the men by the realism displayed in their performance, as there was a tendency to overact by some of the male actors throughout the play. Though the majority of the cast were outstanding for their candid, genuine depictions of their characters, a standout is Jackie Wurst who plays Marci, a woman in a loveless marriage, who choked up delivering raw, emotional lines that sent goose bumps through the audience.

Kot Takahashi was a standout among the male actors for his comprehensive portrayal of Steve, a man who can’t feel pain and thus is developmentally slow. From the way Takahashi spoke with a bit of a slur, to the way he stiffly and awkwardly moved and interacted, down to his very facial expressions, like his cross-eyed eyes, Takahashi had you committed to his role as Steve.

Despite the short amount of time given to put this together and the limited space, the SRJC production of “Almost, Maine” was almost perfect and ended in a rousing standing ovation.

“Almost, Maine” will continue to show until Oct. 4. Every showing will be at 8 p.m. Sept. 30 and Oct. 1-3 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 3 and 4 in Newman Auditorium. Ticket prices range from $12 for youth under 12-years-old, $14 for SRJC students and seniors over 62-years-old and $18 for general admission.

Don’t miss the chance to support your school’s theater and be entertained by SRJC’s “Almost, Maine.”