Warning: 'Almost' is 'so stinking charming'

Love's in the air in Beowulf's new production
2013-03-28T00:00:00Z Warning: 'Almost' is 'so stinking charming'Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 28, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Beowulf Alley Theatre Company has been all over the globe this season.

Among the places it has taken us: Greece (in "Lysistrata"), Mexico ("Three Hotels") and France ("Marie Antoinette: The Color of Flesh").

Next stop: Maine. John Cariani's "Almost, Maine" is a series of nine loosely connected vignettes. They all take place in a rural - and made-up - town called Almost.

And love is in the air in Almost.

Each two-character scene has love's highs and/or lows at its center. Hovering over them all is a clear, cool view of the Northern Lights.

"It is so stinking charming," says Maria Caprile, who is directing the eight-person cast in the roles of nearly 20 characters.

"I was sucked in from the first page (of the script)," she continues. "It's funny, clever, makes you think, accessible - it's the kind of theater I enjoy."

Don't make assumptions about the characters just because they are from a rural town.

"It would be easy to think the characters were bumpkins," she adds. "They are not."

In fact, the playwright grew up in remote Presque Isle, Maine, a town of about 9,000. "Almost, Maine" is a sort of tribute to his neighbors there, people who are resilient and independent, he has said. His perspective has found an audience: "Almost, Maine" is one of the most produced plays in this country.

The vignettes are of everyday events and universal emotions.

"The thing that struck me is that these people are not like me, but I recognize myself in them," said Caprile.

"In one scene, a couple has gone ice skating, and there's this low-level squabbling," says Caprile.

"She can't find her shoe, and the whole thing becomes his fault - who hasn't been there?"

The humor isn't just in the dialogue.

"The playwright uses a lot of visual puns and they are so funny when they happen," says Caprile.

"But it also sneaks in and makes a point when you aren't paying attention."

If you go

• What: Beowulf Alley Theatre Company's production of "Almost, Maine."

• By: John Cariani.

• Director: Maria Caprile.

• When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays through April 14.

• Where: 11 S. Sixth Ave.

• Tickets: $20 regular admission; $18 for seniors, educators and military; $8 for students.

• Reservations/info: www.beowulfalley.org or 882-0555.

• Cast: Lily Delamere;Jacob Brown; Patrick Baum; China Young; Seth Fowler; Candace Bean; Jared Stokes; Leslie Miller.

• Running time: About two hours, with one intermission.

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at kallen@azstarnet.com or 573-4128.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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