Whether you’ve found the love of your life or you’ve been completely heartbroken, Theatre West’s final main stage show of the season “Almost, Maine,” has a story you can relate to.
This romantic comedy contains eight different vignette scenes of couples experiencing the nuances of love in some way in the small, unorganized territory of township 13 in Maine called Almost. While each scene exhibits a realistic incident, under the mystical Northern Lights, a glimmer of magic escapes into each story.
“It’s unlike anything I’ve done here,” director James Bond, who is directing his 12th show for Theatre West, said. “And I’ve done weird things here.”
Bond’s more recent endeavors have been directing larger-than-life shows, the latest of which having been the comedic thriller “The 39 Steps” in June for Theatre West. Bond said it was a nice change of pace to do something that felt more natural.
“It’s almost like I never want to feel like I was watching acting. I didn’t want to feel like I was watching a director’s hand,” he said. “It’s just a whole different energy, and I always like to do whatever I didn’t do last. So, it’s a nice transition for me.”
Bond said not only was the show something rather new for him, it also was something different for the Theatre West company, too.
“I don’t think I’ve seen them (Theatre West) do anything quite like this either,” he said. “It just feels like it’s a new thing. I just love the naturalism about it. It just — I don’t know — it gives me a warm fuzzy.”
Not only is the show broken up into eight different short stories, or scenes, about love, but each story creates a physical, visual image of a concept relating to love — from literally falling in love to feeling the pain of love to recognizing love for the first time.
“This show has a timeless message about love that can relate to literally anyone who watches it,” Dustin Petrillo, who plans a character named Dave, said. “I think it’s just an engrossing show.”
Bond said, “Each scene that I’m working on, I look at it and there is a moment or a thing that happens that makes me remember a moment in a relationship I’ve had. They’re all far enough ago that it’s like, I didn’t even think about that relationship until I see them going through something. It’s, ‘Huh! I’ve been through the same thing.’”
With the style of the show being eight separate stories, it also gave the actors a new challenge for their performances.
“We’re only assigned one scene, for the whole play out of the eight,” Christopher Handcock, who plays a man named Jimmy, said. “We really get to focus in on that one character for that small amount of time. You can picture what their life is like before and after, but you only get eight pages or so of text to work with. And that’s challenging, but also really fun.”
Avery Lux, who plays a woman named Rhonda, said, “It’s challenging too because in other shows, you’re maybe on stage more, but you’re not as maybe involved in all the scenes. But with this one, even though you’re only getting one scene, that scene is about you and the other person on stage and your connection with the other person.”
Despite the unique challenges the show presents, it still has that sense of calm throughout the production. Lux described it as a “perfect mix of sprinkled-in comedy and sentimental love stories.”
For company manager Staysha Adams, it hits even closer to home.
“It’s a perfect example of finding and keeping love in a small town like Scottsbluff,” she said.
“Almost, Maine” opens on Thursday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m. The rest of the show dates include July 17 at 2 p.m., July 21 at 7:30 p.m. and July 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $10 for students. Flex passes, which allow a person to watch any four main stage shows throughout the season are $70 for adults, $60 for seniors and $35 for students.