Theatre UCF opens John Cariani’s play Almost, Maine – a series of vignettes about love in a northern town – on Thursday, June 2. The play will run through June 11 on UCF’s Main Stage.
Almost, Maine tells nine stories of love in a small town in Maine. The residents of the town find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected ways. It is, said director Mark Brotherton, “an honest and insightful play that represents what all aspects of love really encompass.”
Alex Pica, a junior at UCF, has just completed her first year in the BFA musical theatre program. She plays three characters in Almost, Maine.
“Each of the characters is different and my challenge was finding the way to differentiate them to the audience. I had to find their individual quirks,” Pica said. “[Director Mark Brotherton] really understands that you have to find every piece of information from the words. Those differences in the characters lie within the words.”
The summer production schedule at UCF is different than during the regular academic year. Since most students are not taking daytime classes, rehearsals occur during the days and are condensed into three weeks. This shortened and intense rehearsal period gives the students training for working summer stock productions.
“Because the rehearsal period in the summer is a lot shorter we’ve quickly had to delve into the show and fully focus on it,” Pica said. “Because I’m not taking any other classes, I can focus entirely on being an artist and on finding the characters.”
Assistant director Tommy Heller is starting his junior year in the BA theatre studies program. Brotherton gave him full control over two scenes, which Heller selected. “The scenes I am directing are ‘Her Heart’ and ‘This Hurts.’ I chose them because I wanted one high energy scene and one that was more emotionally charged.”
Though he has directed in the past, this is Heller’s first time as an assistant director. “It’s been very helpful. I’ve been exposed to a different directing style than my own. I appreciate that Mark comes into the room with a clear vision of how the scene works, but then is able to adapt to new discoveries and the actors’ input.”
Heller said that he and Brotherton have a very collaborative relationship. “Mark literally left the room and let me direct during my scenes. Then during the full runs, he would provide me with notes on how I might improve them. But I was also present during Mark’s scenes, so I was able to learn by watching him, and he asked for my feedback.”
Pica explains that Almost, Maine can be enjoyed by both students and community members. “This is a good show for anybody, because all of the themes are universal. This show really shines through the clear honesty in the words. It is about what love really means to different people.”
Heller encourages patrons to come enjoy a bit of winter in Florida. “This is a great show to see in the summer,” he said. “It takes place in February in Maine, so it might seem a little out of place in Florida in the summer. But though the characters live in a different world than ours, the raw, honest emotion they feel is universal and transcends any season.”
For more information about Theatre UCF and the UCF School of Performing Arts, visit https://performingarts.cah.ucf.edu
Performance at a Glance
By John Cariani
Directed by Mark Brotherton
June 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 at 7:30 p.m.
June 5, 11 at 2 p.m.
On a cold, clear, moonless night in the middle of winter, all is not quite what it seems in the remote, mythical town of Almost, Maine. As the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, Almost’s residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways. Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. But the bruises heal, and the hearts mend—almost—in this midwinter night’s dream.
$20 standard, $10 UCF ID