Frigid weather, warm love stories combine with elegant tech to bring ‘Almost Maine’ to Fall Church High School stage

Rich Stanage - Pictured: Gunnar Frodigh and Melanie Reuter

In the snow covered town of Almost, Maine, sassy quips and endearing professions of love evoke sweet sentiments of the joys of romance. Amidst the icy windows and warming ski jackets, the audience found themselves falling for Falls Church High School’s whimsical production of “Almost Maine.”

John Cariani’s “Almost, Maine” was first performed at the Portland Stage Company. After which its popularity skyrocketed and it has become of the most produced plays in American High Schools. “Almost, Maine” tells the story of affection lost, found, and of bewildered couples in the state of “almost” being in love through a series of short vignettes.

Throughout every vignette endearing, while not always genuine, characters were developed in very short scenes. The comedic timing and consistently quick dialogue was the strongest aspect of the production. In a play where many lines were spoken on top of each other, the diction of the actors was imperative and successful.  While some scenes lacked tension and didn't build, the actors had clear relationships to create warm, feel-good moments.

Effectively conveying his characters’ emotional angst, Boris Mewborn as both the quirky bumbling Dave and easygoing but confused Randy, delivered a solid performance with his sincere passion and comical facial expressions. Paired with the hilarious, self-conscious and oblivious Emily McGowen (Rhonda) in “Seeing the Thing” they humorously portrayed the tension of unspoken love. Nippy banter between the pair while gazing at an abstract painting honestly illustrated a scene of realistic romance.

As a genuine older couple, Melanie Reuter as Marci and Gunnar Frodigh as Phil convincingly exposed the strains of marriage.  Reuter’s character depth was illustrated in her portrayal of a frustrated, confused woman. Reuter and Frodigh believably reflected a more mature but fading love by turning an ostensibly meaningless argument about a lost shoe into a heated discussion about their entire relationship.

The running crew added greatly to the depth of the play by creating its own characters during the scene transitions. A flirty wave from the girl bringing on the bench to the shy boy carrying off the ironing board formed interesting pauses between each of the scenes. The cutesy and coquettish relationships greatly added to the amorous atmosphere and prevented any lulls in the performance.

Passion and snow were in the air in the off-the-map small town of Almost, Maine as Falls Church High School admirably and hilariously presented what it truly is to fall in and out of love.

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