‘Almost, Maine’ tells stories varying in love and tragedy


Kastenny Flores

Josh Logue and Hadley Julca play East and Glory in the the Theatre Arts and Dance Department’s production of “Almost, Maine.” The two’s love story follows East as he believes he can fix Glory’s broken heart.

Kastenny Flores, Reporter

For the spring 2023 production, California Lutheran University’s Dance and Theater Department performed “Almost, Maine,” a play originally written by John Cariani. The production depicted several modern-day stories, portraying themes of love, tragedy and comedy.

“Different stories of romance and connection, but told very, very literally. If someone falls in love they fall,” cast member Lia Tracy said.

Cast member Dani Tran said the town, unofficially named Almost because it was never actually established, is also slightly behind the times since it is considered to be far from everywhere else.

“It’s a very small town, probably less than 3000 people. So everybody knows everybody else and everybody else’s business,” Director Ken Garner said.

Garner said there are 19 cast members for an approximately ten-minute scene, and that the cast and crew worked rigorously for about 10 weeks to prepare for the final production.

Production Costume Designer Grace Phenicie said the makeup is casual since there is a close relationship between proximity to the crowd and the costumes were picked out for cold weather, given the setting of January.

“I wanted to give everyone their rom-com moment. Finding a little bit of a blend between like, what is it extremely realistic, what are people actually wearing? What outfits will people literally wear when walking down the street, but also getting to be a little more romantic,” Phenicie said.

The show began with the couple Ginette and Pete, portrayed by Avya Pandi and Kiki Ragland respectively. This couple began as a friendship where Pete clearly did not want the love that Ginette had to offer. Throughout the story, Pete changes his opinion of Ginette and searches for her. 

The next scene featured the story of Glory and East played by Hadley Julca and Josh Logue. Glory had recently lost her husband and wanted to pay her respects since she believed that her ex-husband, West, would depart with the stars in the northern lights. Glory had received a heart transplant and brought her old broken heart with her since it was the one that had once loved West. East, being a repairman, believed that he could fix Glory’s heart now that she’s met him. 

The next couple had broken up months prior yet happened to finally stubble upon each other at the local bar. Portrayed respectfully by Joey Grimaldi and Grace Aguirre, Jimmy, the former lover of Sandrine, is still infatuated with her while she was celebrating her bachelorette party with her friends.

Another story features Steve, played by Art Portillo, who has a neurological condition that inhibits him from feeling pain, and Marvalyn, played by Savannah Simpson, who is struggling to maintain her relationship.  When the two meet in the laundry room of their building, Marvalyn accidentally hits Steve with her ironing board only to be confused as to why he was not in pain after knocking him over. They begin to explain each other’s tragic life stories and come to the conclusion that not being able to feel anything might not be so bad. 

The performances of Almost, Maine took place April 19 to 22 from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Black Box Theater at California Lutheran University.