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2/13/2013 12:01:00 AM
'MAINE' ATTRACTION: Play vignettes reveal magic of love
Les Stukenberg/The Daily CourierAllie Elliot and Jaryd Smart are two of the six actors in the Prescott Center for the Arts production of the comedy Almost Maine.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Allie Elliot and Jaryd Smart are two of the six actors in the Prescott Center for the Arts production of the comedy Almost Maine.
Karen Despain
The Daily Courier

Love - its dynamics, its thrilling and sad moments - unfolds in "Almost, Maine," which opens appropriately on Valentine's Day at the Prescott Center for the Arts.

What makes this two-act play unique is that each scene takes place at the same time, a Friday night, at 9 p.m. on Feb. 14 in a little mythical town that "never got around to being a town."

Six actors - Rebecca Antsis, Angela Bryan, Allie Elliott, Kevin Goss, Jaryd Smart and Chris Vaglio - each play multiple parts in the play's eight scenes.

The audience is at once given to fits of laughter or deep feelings of empathy. "People will really get something out of it," Vaglio said of "Almost, Maine." There is "a message for everyone, at least something in one of the scenes that will speak to them in their own way."

Bruce Lanning, who has an extensive background in theater, is directing PCA's production of "Almost, Maine," written by John Cariano.

There's "a little of magic in each scene," Lanning said, describing the play's "magic realism." At some point in the nine plays-within-a-play, "something magical happens. It doesn't always relieve the pain. Magic doesn't necessarily result in something good. The universe is full of this magic and sometimes it can transform people or it can harm them, too."

An Aurora Borealis backdrop adds to the magical effect at the very beginning when Glory (Antsis) pitches a tent in a stranger's yard so that she can watch the phenomenon. She clutches a pouch to her chest that holds the pieces of her heart, broken by a lover who had abandoned her.

"I like Glory. Most people can relate to having their heart broken and then finding a way to cope with it," Antsis said. "She thought her husband was in the sky and used Aurora Borealis to be a conduit. She wasn't angry or very vengeful. That's true of love, as well. You invert (guilt) upon yourself and feel you're to blame for what went awry in a relationship. I thought it was astute of the playwright to catch that."

In another vignette, Hope (Bryan) has waited too long to say "yes" to a marriage proposal, and finds that her love of long ago has moved on with his life.

The proverbial shoe drops in another scene, symbolic of a marriage that can't be saved, but a kiss in another vignette brings back to life feelings that a man thought he had lost to a condition that made him insensitive to pain.

Despite the poignancy, humor pervades in "Almost, Maine." In "Getting Back," Gayle "gives back" all the love that Lendalll (Goss) has given her, running back and forth to her car to lug in huge red pillows stuffed with his love.

The play's story, "Seeing the Thing" brings the house down when Rhonda (Antsis) and Dave (Vaglio) peel off layers and layers of clothing after a single kiss that leads her to say, "I feel like I want to do something else."

"We've covered the broader spectrum that is love," Elliott said. "I hope everyone takes something home from it."

"Almost, Maine" plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and Feb. 21, 22, and 23 and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 17 and 23. Tickets are $14 to $19 by calling the PCA box office at 445-3286 or email

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Article comment by: Catherine Hahn

We have tickets Saturday night, and I can't wait. I am a true Magical Realism fan. Wonderful to see Chris Vaglio back in a PCA cast among the names of all the other strong players in this one. And, I've always had a crush o Bruce Lanning! -- Cathy Hahn

Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Article comment by: Loved This One...

I caught this play on press night. It was poignant, heart warming, and very funny at times. A wonderful Valentine's day play.

Rebecca Antsis in particular is truly a jewel and gave another outstanding performance.

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