Almost, Maine

“Going to rehearsal for this production felt like a warm, happy place in the middle of a long, cold winter,” recalls Mrs. Donalee Ong, director of Western Reserve Academy’s winter play, Almost, Maine. In my experience, sitting in the audience for Almost, Maine – performed in KFAC January 24, 25, and 26 – felt much the same. Despite the chilly snowbanks decorating the stage, the play presented a heartwarming depiction of the challenges facing the characters, from the comical – such as “This Hurts,” starring Noah Luch ’20 and Lauren Demsey ’21 – to the melancholy – like “Where It Went,” starring Miranda Namiotka ’20 and Roman LaBrosse ’20. Despite the differences in tone, every scene was surprisingly relatable and powerful to watch.

“I thought the play was so cute. I cried only two times but held back many more tears. I wish I could watch it again! The actors and actresses did an amazing job!” exclaims Regina Aguilar ’20. “The play was comforting yet agonizing in different ways. A novel experience of multiple conflicting emotions at once,” adds Khushi Chawda ’21.

Unlike many other plays performed at WRA over the years, Almost Maine consisted of a number of standalone scenes, all woven together into a common theme. Each actor had only one scene, with the notable exception of Carter Frato-Sweeney ’22 and Elba Heddesheimer ’23, who started and ended the play. Cater also entertained the audience by making snow angels during intermission. “I was skeptical of the format of the play initially,” comments Ellie Frato-Sweeney ’20, “But once the show started my fears were eased! What an incredible show – one of my favorites I’ve seen at Reserve. It was an amazing experience to go Friday night and feel the mainly-student audience react to everything. I enjoyed it so much I went again on Sunday!”

Almost, Maine has been my favorite show that I have participated in at WRA,” adds Libby Hoffman ’20, “It was very unique in the sense that we barely saw any of the other scenes until tech week, but once we saw the show as a whole, it was so cool to see the hard work that everyone had put in individually! Despite the fact that we did not have group rehearsals, this cast was incredibly close and had lots of fun backstage. It’s only been a week and I already miss it so much!”

Thank you to the cast and crew of Almost, Maine for putting on a fantastic show!

-Ilyana Smith ’20

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