Winter-set ‘Almost, Maine’ warms hearts at The Arlington Players

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, what better time to explore love and relationships?

I saw John Cariani’s Almost, Maine at a local high school in 2015 and thoroughly enjoyed it. The Arlington Players are now performing this quirky, heartwarming, and thought-provoking play through February 19, directed by Alexa Roggenkamp. In it, the audience is transported to a quaint fictional town in Maine called Almost, where the lives of various characters intertwine in nine vignettes. Serving transitions between scenes is a simple set design by Julie Fischer and Rudy Roggenkamp.

Erin Gallalee as Glory and Sargon De Jesus as East in ‘Almost, Maine.’ Photo by Kristen Stevens.

The nine short stories are dramatized by 18 actors who collectively demonstrate the ideas of love at first sight, falling in and out of love, metaphors of how we measure love, and declaring love too soon and not soon enough. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, what better time to explore love and relationships?

Clockwise from top: Judy Lewis (as Deena) and Christine Tankersley (Shelly); Minasse Nerayo (Phil) and Jessa Whitley-Hill (Marci); Morgan DeHart (Steve) and Julia Link (Marvalyn in ‘Almost, Maine.’ Photos by Kristen Stevens.

Each story offers actors the chance to shine in their portrayals. Glory, played by Erin Gallalee, gives a commanding performance as a woman who is looking to say goodbye to her broken heart. She stumbles upon East, played by Sargon de Jesus, whose deadpan delivery of a Maine farmer repairman really works. Morgan DeHart as Steve and Julia Link as Marvalyn help to define what it might feel like to not feel pain, and yet show how there is still no escaping the pain of the heart. One of my favorite scenes is between Gayle (Madison Bacino) and Lendall (Luke Hellyer) with their dialogue about how much we feel we give or have given in a relationship. Bacino as Gayle convincingly performs a partner who is setting boundaries but is willing to change course when offered another attractive perspective.

One scene did not work for me: the setting of the Moose Paddy pub. The table was situated at the back of the stage, which made it difficult to hear some of the actors’ lines. The delivery was a bit slow at times and the scene seemed to call for a bit more intensity on the part of Jimmy.

There was plenty of snow, coats, gloves, and boots to remind us how cold it was outside. However, in bringing so many affairs of the heart to light, The Arlington Players’ Almost, Maine got a warm audience reaction.

Running Time: Approximately two hours, including a 15-minute intermission.

Almost, Maine plays through February 19, 2023, presented by The Arlington Players performing at the Jefferson Community Center, 125 South Old Glebe Road, Arlington, VA. Tickets ($25 for adults, $22 for seniors and military, and $15 for students and children) can be purchased online.

The cast, creative, and production credits are online here.

COVID Safety: Masks are required inside the Community Center.

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Linda Kinney
Linda Kinney is a licensed psychotherapist in the NOVA area, with a strong addictions background. She holds an undergraduate degree in Social Work from George Mason University and a graduate degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University. She was in her college chorus and has been told she can carry a tune. She loves the theater and all of the beautiful community members she has met. Her daughter, Caroline, a recent graduate of the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, started pursuing voice, acting, and dance at a young age, and attending performances became a beloved pastime to this day. Linda currently lives in Leesburg, Virginia, with her husband, Patrick, and daughter, Caroline.


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