A Winter’s Tale: Live theatre returns to Cranbrook with “Almost, Maine”

Cranbrook Community Theatre presentation, opening Friday, shows us how we leave each other, and how we make our way back

See photo gallery below — photos by Christina Blaskovich

Live theatre is back in Cranbrook, with a story — or stories — of love, loss, connection and re-connection that is most appropriate for the times we are in.

Cranbrook Community Theatre is presenting “Almost, Maine,” a 2006 play by John Cariani that takes us to an almost town, not quite on the map, set in winter, both in the landscape of a small rural community in Maine and in our hearts.

“Almost, Maine,” directed by Michelle McCue and Bob McCue, and produced by Brenda Burley, opens Friday, September 25, at the Studio Stage Door in Cranbrook, and runs for six shows. CCT has worked to present the play under the impositions of the current pandemic. Only 30 theatre seats are available for each show — but the shows will be livestreamed and available by E-ticket.

In this winter landscape of the heart, estrangement is the natural order of things. Pushing each other away, leaving each other, is the theme. How we re-connect work our way back to each other is the issue at the play’s core.

The geography of Almost, Maine is shifting and nebulous, but it is a community nonetheless, with the Moose Paddy pub at its centre, and populated by 19 characters, who in a flowing series of 11 short scenes and nine separate stories plumb the depths of this human experience. And what drives this experience is love.

As the characters lead us through this community and their situations, we come to know the people and the town of Almost, and we come to see our own desires reflected in what they are seeking.

• Prologue (and Interlogue, and Epilogue — with Eve Sperling and Colby Burleigh): Ginette and Pete demonstrate the distance between us — that the closer we get, the farther away we can be. Or is that the farther away we get, the closer we can be?

• Her Heart (with Michael Grossman and Andrea Grossman): Glory, seeking the northern lights to say goodbye to Wes, meets East. We find out about the uncharted territory that is Almost, Maine..

• Sad and Glad (with Jason Zimmer, Stephanie Moore Milne and Viola Heyde): Lost and found in uncharted territory — if we’re sad, we drink for free, but we’d rather have another bud.

• This Hurts (with Erin Dalton and Ferdy Belland): What can’t hurt you, what to be afraid of, and the opposite of God. When we tell people about ourselves, they go away.

• Getting Back (with Candice Fisk and Sanjay Fisk): The love we give away, the love we want back, and all the the forms that it can take.

• They Fell (with Landon Elliot and Angus Liedtke): Crossing the line, and falling towards what matters.

• Where It Went (with Jennifer Inglis and Trevor Lundy): Wishes don’t come true if you wish upon a planet — or do they?

Story of Hope (with Amy Penny and Jerrod Bondy): Coming back with a long delayed answer to a question, but someone else is standing there.

* Seeing The Thing (with Savannah Fisk and Cedar Gross): Sometimes, the best way to see something is to “trick” the thing you’re trying to see. Sometimes …

There are countless ways we can push away from and leave each other; finding our ways back to each other is much more difficult. But the characters in this little community of Almost, Maine, and the through lines contained in this beautiful series of vignettes, all connect each other in the way we must all be connected, and help show us the way.

“Almost, Maine” opens Friday, Sept. 25, and runs Sept. 26, and 27 and October 1, 2 and 3. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m., except for the 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Sept. 27. Tickets, both E-tickets and for the live show, are available at www.cranbrookcommunitytheatre.com

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