Almost, Maine is Almost Here

Ann Zhang, Features Editor

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Harry Coons ’19 and Izzy Thorpe ’19 pose in front of the Northern Lights, an image that occurs in almost every scene of the play.


“Almost, Maine” Is Almost Here!

Bags of love? Potato fields? Marriage? The universe is home to such strange, inexplicable creations, many of which intersect in “Almost, Maine” — a play composed of nine vignettes about love and loneliness, all set during the same night in Almost, Maine.

Meanwhile, in St. Louis, Missouri: “Almost, Maine” hits the stage of John Burroughs School on October 19 and 20 (Friday and Saturday) at 7:30 PM. The performance will be the culmination of months’ preparation from the production’s cast and crew, with participants representing all grades 9-12.

Claire Harkins ‘21, one of the production’s co-stage managers (alongside Keerthana Madireddi ‘20), explains that since “rehearsals have been a little different” than usual — “it’s only been each scene rehearsing at a time” — “Almost, Maine” allows “people who have never acted before to try it out.”

For example, Samantha Bernstein ‘19 counts “Almost, Maine” among her first experiences with theater. Bernstein only began her journey in the performing arts last year, but she is making the most of the end of her high school career.

“Being in my senior year, this production has felt special to me. Knowing that this is one of the last productions I will perform at Burroughs is crazy,” says Bernstein. She reflects upon working with students from all grades: “It warms my heart to see such amazing performers who still have multiple years to perform at this school. I can’t wait to see the amazing things they do going forward.”

On the opposite end of the seniority spectrum, Shayfer Huitt ‘22 is entering his first year of high school. As another newcomer to the JBS Players, he celebrates that “Almost, Maine” is a “really good place to start and learn [theater]. We’ve been having a great time preparing it.”

The play’s unique layout presents “a unique opportunity” for freshmen to play major roles in high school theater, observes Andrew Herbster ‘22, who expresses his gratitude for the experience. Herbster worked with Burroughs theater in last year’s middle school production of “The Little Prince.”

Jack Nelson ’19 and Will Forsen ’19 sit back to back in their scene “They Fell”

Libby Hizar ‘20 also joined the JBS Players while she was in middle school, and has since continued to act in numerous Burroughs productions throughout high school. About “Almost, Maine” in particular, she gushes, “I loved this play for the longest time and was over the moon when it was announced we are doing it!”

Hizar can’t help but dive deeper into the play’s contents: “Falling in love or being in a relationship,” she says, becomes “spontaneous, quirky, beautiful… blurring the line between what is figurative and literal [to] make a very normalized thing around the world seem almost fantastical, and very charming to watch.”

Hizar, alongside her fellow cast and crew members, urges the JBS community to come watch the play this Friday and Saturday, in Haertter Hall. Bernstein mentions “the intensity in every scene,” Huitt emphasizes the combination of “drama and comedy,” and Herbster states succinctly: “This really is a play that I think anyone can enjoy.”

 

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