Barlow students to present ‘Almost, Maine’ this weekend

Amelia Greene and Finn Navin perform a scene from ‘Almost, Maine’ during rehearsal at Joel Barlow High School.

Students at Joel Barlow High School are set to perform the romantic comedy ‘Almost, Maine’ this weekend for their spring show.

Performances will take place on Friday, May 19 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 20st at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 22nd at 2:00 p.m.

The play, written by John Cariani, contains a series of nine vignettes that explore the emotional outbursts of love and the sometimes unpleasant aftermath.

Director Nancy Ponturo performed in a play reading of ‘Almost, Maine’ at New Pond Farm, where she fell in love with the play.

“It is sweet and funny and it totally touched my heart. It is made up of 9 short two-person scenes that explore finding love, and in some cases losing it. The characters are well-developed and there are parts for 18 actors, which is rare to find in a nonmusical,” says Ponturo.

Set in the remote mythical town of Almost, Maine, the play is a series of whimsical scenes in the snow covered town.

The human interaction in each scene is honest and the authentic dialogue is what connects the actors and audience to this piece. While the skits do vary from sweet to a little bit silly, the setting of a fictional town under twinkling stars and the appearance of the northern lights help to add to the magic of this quirky production.

“The actors were asked to read the play before auditions and know the part they wanted. It was a phenomenal round of auditions and for the most part every actor got the part they wanted, which is also very rare,” Ponturo said.

“When rehearsals began I worked with two actors at a time for an hour per week, kind of like a scene study class. These last three weeks we are running the show every day and everyone sits in and gives productive feedback to those on stage. It truly feels like a family environment, so positive and supportive.”

The cast includes, in order of appearance, Nick Morris, Lucie Gorman, Nik Brannan, Sophie Bacas, Nikki Kearney, Joseph Redmond, Finn Navin, Amelia Greene, RJ Giannicchi, Elsie Tierney, Lee Winters, Zachary Connor, Wyatt Hoover, Lia O’Connor, Emma Thomas, Nate Laske, Josie Hoover and Kevin Keating.

There is a collegial sentiment amongst the cast expressed clearly in these words from Lia O’Connor, a sophomore at Barlow.

“The thing about doing ‘Almost Maine’ is that we’re like a family, there’s no tension amongst the actors and it’s great! We all love each other and we love what we do,” she said.

Sophomore Josie Hoover added “I really love being in this show because it gives each actor an equal amount of time in the spotlight. In bigger productions, some actors might only appear in the smaller ensemble parts. Whereas in this show, there are two or three actors on stage for the entire length of the scene.”

Ponturo has directed the spring play at Joel Barlow High School for 10 years and has been the artistic director of the Shakespeare program at New Pond Farm for the past 14 years.

Tickets for Almost, Maine are available at the door for $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.

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