Nine love stories
McMinnville High School students will present “Almost, Maine,” a “somewhat magical romantic comedy,” Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 28 to March 2. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., with shows at 7 o’clock.
Tickets cost $6 general and $4 for Mac High students.
John Cariani wrote “Almost, Maine,” which had its off-Broadway debut in 2006. Made up of nine short segments, it’s set in mid-winter in Northern Maine where the people know each other as only residents of a small town can.
As the northern lights play in the sky, the characters find themselves unexpectedly falling in and out of love. “This is a magical world where falling in love is the easiest and most difficult thing to do,” said Anastasia Bakewell, a junior who’s part of the cast.
She plays Glory, a recent widow who is hiking the countryside, camping out and looking for a way to heal her broken heart.
The character is a “quirky, wannabe Pippi,” Bakewell said. She said it’s not much of a stretch for her, since Glory is “like myself if I’d had 10 Mountain Dews and five energy drinks.”
Bakewell has been devoted to theater most of her life. She had the lead in Mac High’s “Once Upon a Mattress” last year and has played roles at the Oregon Children’s Theater, where she works.
After spending the summer as an exchange student in Ghana, she said she was happy to return to “this theater community of loving people” at McMinnville High. She plans to continue participating in theater her senior year.
Another segment features Naomi Scott as Marvalyn, a woman helping another character get in touch with his emotions. “This is a romantic comedy just like the ones I like to watch,” said Scott, a senior.
Scott has been in drama all four years of her high school career. She first joined to try something new and make new friends. Then she fell in love with doing plays, “the people, the challenge of it.”
This is her first character role with lots of lines. Previously, she was in the chorus for musicals.
Next year, in college, she may join the theater. She’s not looking at it as a major or a career, though, just for fun.
Yet another segment features Jerry Hoover, a senior. He plays Lendall, a fellow who has been dating his girlfriend for 11 years without making a permanent commitment.
Hoover, who enjoys being on stage, said he shares some qualities with the character. “Lendall is pretty clueless for most of the scene,” he said. “I’m pretty clueless, so I can relate.”
He loves getting to play characters in shows like this or “The Outsiders” last fall. And he loves the teamwork that goes into creating a play, he said. “It’s so much fun to have it all come together.”
Hoover plans to study broadcasting at Arizona State University next year. He also has another theater project at Mac High lined up for this spring: He will direct a one-act play based on Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None.”
Bethany Mason is directing “Almost, Maine.” She has been Mac High’s drama teacher since September.
Other cast members are Andrew Floratos, Anthony Jenkins, Amanda Sheller, Jose Aguilar, Amarie Cook, Ethan Collins, Lauren Ulvang, Jeremiah Brophy, Zachary Fuller, Emily Beals, Darian Kindred, Miriam Peterson, Anton Ramick, Lydia Thompson and David Kyle Hathaway.