BATAVIA — Welcome to Almost, Maine, a township so far north it’s almost not in the United States, it’s almost in Canada. Not only that, but it’s not quite a town because the residents never quite got around to getting organized.
One cold, clear, winter night, as the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, the residents of Almost, Maine, find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and hilarious ways.
Stephen VanValkenburg, who plays Jimmy and Randy, said the entire play takes within 10 minutes of a day, although the entire run time for the show is an hour and a half. There are individual scenes which are happening at the same time across town which loosely are tied together.
“Even though it’s a small town, we all know each other, there are still new things to uncover,” he said when asked what his favorite thing about “Almost, Maine” is. “There are lots of fun, sad and happy developments which have been there the whole time, just waiting to be uncovered.”
Sophie Houseman, who plays a woman, is doing her first show with the Batavia Players after moving to the United States from the United Kingdom in 2014.
“It’s been a bit of a weird process. Because normally you understand the arc of the show,” Houseman said. “Whereas with this we only saw our kind of 10 minute thing. We only rehearsed our 10 minute thing and got a little sneak peak of the rehearsal before us.”
Houseman said there are scenes now even the actors haven’t seen.
“So the audience should come and see what the cast don’t get to see,” she said.
VanValkenburg’s character Jimmy is in a diner called the Moose Patty where he is grabbing a couple of beers and mulling over life when an old girlfriend walks in. The two sit down and reminisce.
“Some choices are made which affect my life and hers, and it’s interesting to see someone you were once so intimate with,” VanValkenburg said. “It’s awkward and funny. Both touching and sad; it’s a lot of emotions in a short span of time.”
Randy on the other hand is a mill worker. He is talking to his best friend, Chad, about how their dates have been going. The two find they have more in common than they originally thought they might.
Houseman’s character does not live in Almost, Maine and is coming to visit a man, played by Richard Ferris, who does to answer a long lost question.
Seth Coburn plays Pete, who is one of the few characters who is in the show more than once. Pete is in an awkward state with a girl named Ginette, played by Maia Zerillo, where they both like each other but don’t want to say anything.
“Ginette eventually says something, and that starts this whole thing with Pete realizing they’re not really close,” Coburn said. “Then Ginette goes away, and you see Pete trying to deal with this through the beginning of the show, middle of the show and then the end of the show.”
Pat Burke, director, said he read “Almost, Maine” a long time ago and wanted to do something different that would fit into a temporary space. Not only that, Burke enjoyed the wide variety of characters and the show is one of his favorites from a long time ago.
“Almost, Maine isn’t a real place but it’s based on a real place,” Burke said. “Much of Maine is an incorporated community.”
This means there is no government and the communities are unorganized.
The show will be 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $16 for adults and $14 for students/seniors. Tickets can be bought at showtix4u.com. More information can be at bataviaplayers.org.
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