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Theatre / Almost, Maine

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"But...now you're closer."
Pete

Almost, Maine is a play by John Cariani set in the fictional town of Almost, Maine. The play is comprised of two acts, comprised of short scenes focused on the relationship of two or three characters. The play relies heavily on symbolism, with objects in the play acting as physical manifestations of love.

The original run of the play opened in 2006 at the Daryl Roth Theatre in New York City, with the nineteen roles being placed on four actors.

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Almost, Maine contains examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: Lendall, East, Sandrine, Marvalyn, Villian.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Steve, in addition to his congenital analgesia seems to have some sort of learning disability
  • Amicable Exes: Jimmy and Sandrine, mostly.
    • Hope and Danny, eventually, though in a bittersweet way.
  • Bag of Holding: Rings can hold a lot of love.
  • Blatant Lies: Glory promises East she'll be in his yard to see the northern lights, and then she'll be gone. He immediately notes the tent she's pitched.
  • Book-Ends: The play begins and ends with Pete and Ginette sitting on a bench, looking at the stars.
  • Close-Knit Community
  • Continuity Nod: One appears in every scene after "Her Heart".
    • Continuity Cavalcade: In "Seeing the Thing", the last scene before the epilogue, Dave name-checks just about every other character in the play.
  • Cue the Aurora: Each scene ends with the northern lights appearing overhead.
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  • Downer Ending: "Where It Went", which is probably the only outright unhappy ending in the play; "Story of Hope" is more of a Bittersweet Ending.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Jimmy in "Sad and Glad". Seemingly enforced by the bar he's at, the Moose Paddy, which advertises a special: "Drink free if you're sad."
  • Economy Cast: The script calls for all of the show's roles to be played by four actors. Some productions use six or eight, but it's rare to see every role played by a different actor.
  • Feel No Pain: Steve in "This Hurts" due to congenital analgesia.
  • First Girl Wins: Painfully averted in "Story of Hope."
  • First Kiss: Experienced by Rhonda in "Seeing the Thing".
  • Gender Flip: In some adaptions, Chad and Randy are female and renamed as Shelly and Deena.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Randy talking about his ex-girlfriend's former boyfriend.
    Randy: He's about as small as she is. *he and Chad laugh*
    Chad: OOOOOOH! *laughs even harder*'
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  • High-School Sweethearts: Danny and Hope.
  • Hollywood New England: Averted. The play makes a point of distinguishing rural, northern Maine, where the play is set, from the common "Down East" stereotype of the state.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: According to his story, Randy and his ex were this trope. He had ended up injuring her while dancing.
  • Love at First Sight: East for Glory in "Her Heart".
  • Magic Realism: It's a mostly-serious series of vignettes about love and loss, but there are some strange things happening in Almost as well.
  • Maybe Ever After: The end of each "Her Heart", "Sad and Glad", "This Hurts", "They Fell" and "Where it Went" are all ambiguous to if the characters get together.
  • Meet Cute: A couple of them here:
    • East meets Glory when she pitches a tent in his front yard to watch the Aurora Borealis.
    • Jimmy meets Villian while he's at a bar after a breakup. What really makes this one is that he recently accidentally got an Embarrassing Tattoo of her name.
    • Marvalyn meets Steve when she whacks him in the head with an ironing board. Steve, who has a medical condition causing him to feel no pain, is unfazed— until she does it again, and he feels it.
  • Mr. Exposition: Light shades of this with East. He explains the story behind the not-quite-town of Almost to Glory, and as "Her Heart" is chronologically the first scene, he's providing backstory for the audience too.
  • One of the Boys: Rhonda, in "Seeing the Thing".
  • Punny Name: "Story of Hope" gets a lot of mileage out of Hope's name.
    • East and Wes in "Her Heart".
  • Quirky Town
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Jimmy is so remorseful about his breakup with Sandrine that he gets a tattoo reading "Villain" on his arm— only it's misspelled as "Villian".
  • Shipper on Deck: Nearly everyone in town is rooting for Dave and Rhonda to get together. They Do.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Marvalyn and Steve take turns getting walloped with the ironing board.
  • Small Town Boredom: Hope, when she was a teenager.
  • Snow Means Love: Pete and Ginette, in the epilogue.
  • Stealth Pun: In "Her Heart", Glory is paying up to her recently deceased husband Wes when she meets East. East and Wes?
  • Straight Gay: Chad and Randy, to their surprise.
  • Taken for Granite: Glory's heart literally turned to stone and broke. She carries around the nineteen pieces of slate in a bag.
  • Visual Pun: In "Where It Went." Phil and Marci have just finished ice skating and are changing out of their skates, but Marci can't find one of her shoes. As the scene progresses, they have a vicious argument that leads to them realizing, and admitting out loud, the failed state of their marriage... and then Marci's shoe falls from the sky. Yes, the other shoe literally drops. Notably, this doesn't make the scene any less of a huge bummer.
    • A subversion happens in "The Story of Hope". Daniel's body has shrunk due to "losing a lot of hope", which is already a pun on Hope's name. The twist is, despite being physically smaller, he ends up being the bigger person by forgiving Hope.
  • Wham Line: There's one in "A Story of Hope."
    Suzette: Honey? Dan, hon? Who's there?
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: East—he notes that his name is actually Easton, his hometown, due to a mistake on his birth certificate.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Glory's husband Wes left her for somebody else.
  • Zip Me Up: In "Seeing the Thing", Dave unzips Rhonda's jacket, leading up them stripping their winter clothes off.
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