Almost, Maine

or, how I tend to get a bit carried away by romance

Compiled from notes taken on January 25th

Before: My friend Kel invited my friend Trevor and I to go see Sock'n'Buskin's production of Almost, Maine. Our friend Andy was oping the lights. We left the theatre department on Friday night and took one of those new taxis that you use an app for to a United church in the Glebe. We paid five dollars each at the door, stopped by the church's gender neutral bathroom to relieve ourselves, and entered the performance space, which was, if I understood my surroundings correctly, the hall of a Montessori school.

Sock'n'Buskin is Carleton University's theatre club. Their motto, which is honest-to-god printed on their business cards, is "It's not a theatre company, it's a friendship company!". They're celebrating their 75th anniversary this year, so they do have a hefty history. That said, Carleton doesn't actually have a theatre program. All this led me to believe that the intention behind Sock'n'Buskin, and by extension Almost, Maine, was going to be having fun. I have no issue with this.

I didn't get a look at the lighting board before the show, but the instruments were some cheap-o LED pars and some halogen work lights. Pretty DIY, which I thought was cool. The set was quite unpolished, with curtains duct taped to the walls around the audience entrance and actors visible through the gaps in the screens that made up the wings. The crowd was excited and chatty, and I suspect the large size of the cast made for plenty of friends and family coming to the show every night.

After: Hoo boy, do I ever get caught up in romance. I learned after the show that Andy (our op friend from earlier) was watching my reactions through the whole show and laughing to himself. Almost, Maine is a series of vignettes centered around the unorganized section of Maine called Almost, and around the relationships between the people who live in said area. The scenes that stood out for me were, one, the one in which two best friends realize that they have a lot more fun with each other than on dates and fall in love, two, the one where a woman who walked away from a man after he asked her to marry him comes back and finds out he's married now (and a total sleaze), and three, the one where a couple finally releases the anger they've been suppressing while looking for a missing boot. These scenes stood out for me because they were the ones that moved me the most emotionally, with me fawning, shocked, and uncomfortable respectively.

The people in the performance were a lot more interesting to me than the production elements, with the possible exception of a beautiful northern lights effect with the LEDs. Most people involved with theatre want to be actors or directors, and I think was somewhat visible in the quality of the show's work. I was around for part of the strike and saw someone knock over one of the lighting booms.

Also, there was a big fire at Carleton that night.

Dunno if I'd watch Almost, Maine a second time, but I'd watch it for the first time again.