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Love and Loss in Patriot Production’s ‘Almost, Maine’

Normandy Studios
Dohan and Lanza in the scene “Her Heart.”

The latest performance of the Patriot Productions, Almost, Maine, was definitely one to remember! Following the citizens of a small town, “Almost” in Maine (hence, Almost, Maine), this play captures the journey and experience of multiple couples falling in and out of love. Each scene contributes its own engaging touch to the show, peering into the reality of life and its unexpected changes, both good and bad, especially when you are in a relationship. 

Opening with Ginette (Gabriella Levine) and Pete (Rocco Parisi) their wholesome relationship and sweet characters are encapsulated as they sit on a bench and confess their love for one another. Ginette wants to be as close to Pete as possible, and he insightfully explains how close they would be if they both walked an entire trip around the world.

The next scene alludes to the beautiful Northern Lights, which Ava Dohan’s character, Glory, intends to find. Dohan does an amazing job capturing the genuine, lovestruck presence of Glory, as she begs East (Danny Lanza)to let her camp in his yard. Eventually, she confesses to the heartbreak of her past relationship, to which East responds with the grand gesture of fixing her fragile, broken heart she had brought along with her in a paper bag. Their relationship grew quickly, and both Lanza and Dohan’s stage presence as a couple was remarkable to say the least! The crew did an amazing job with the Northern Lights above the stage, it was one of the coolest parts of the show! 

Briggs, Loges, and Karmazin in the scene “Sad and Glad.”

And East isn’t the only man in Almost trying to win over a girl! Back at The Moose Paddy, Jimmy (Daniel Loges) drunkenly encounters his past lover, Sandrine (Natalie Briggs). As tension builds, Jimmy begs and begs her to stay and talk with him, revealing a tattoo he got after feeling like a “villain” (misspelled “villian”) for letting her go, but she insists that she must get back to “her girls.” As it turned out, Sandrine was hosting her bachelorette party at the Moose Paddy, leaving Jimmy’s heart shattered. Only, in this case, no one was there to fix it. Loges perfectly executed his performance, with both longing and sadness in his voice, and Waitress (Allison Karmazin), nailing a sweet Southern accent and character, tried to ease his depression with a free drink (he was allowed a free drink if he was sad, which Waitress suspected he was). 

Another dysfunctional love story comes along with Marvalyn (Adelaide Bertrand) and Steve (Rocco Parisi)–and it all starts with an ironing board. Steve hasn’t been able to feel pain or fear, which he thoroughly explains to Marvalyn after she had hit him with the ironing board and he had responded with no reaction. Needless to say, when he hit her with the ironing board, it hurt. This relationship was a comical one to see fold out on stage, as Steve navigated his inability to feel pain and applied it to his love life. When he realized that kissing Marvalyn did not, in fact, hurt him, as he once thought pretty girls would do, he had the chance to experience true love. 

“Getting it Back,” Scene 4, had a surprise in store that Gayle (Veronica Girandola) definitely wasn’t expecting. Girandola did an amazing job delivering the emotions of her character, who experienced a mix of confusion, anger, indecisiveness, and insecurity in her relationship with her boyfriend, Lendall (Ryan Thaw). Gayle carried each and every one of the bags of love she had received from Lendall over the past 6 years from outside, back into his house, and demanded all of the love she gave him was returned, as well. She insisted that she had given him so much love, and that she would never move on if she ran out of love to give to someone else. However, while Gayle’s bags of love she brought were plentiful, the one Lendall had for her was small. Big things come in small packages, for Thaw was able to enact all of the love that Lendall had for Gayle with the grand gesture of an engagement ring, allowing them to “get back” their relationship, after all. 

Following a brief 15-minute intermission, the show returns with Pete (Rocco Parisi) searching for Ginette (Gabriella Lavine) as she was in the process of traveling around the world for him. Then, the relationship of Chad (Burak Tasoz) and Randy (Daniel Lanza) unfolds onstage, ironically starting with their bonding over difficulty with women. Their conversation and laughter quickly escalates into Chad’s confession that he is falling for Randy–both figuratively and literally (emphasis on literally), and, soon enough, both men are falling for each other. This scene was one of the funniest ones, in my opinion; Tasoz and Lanza somehow timed their falls perfectly with one another, and it was hilarious to see them so in sync while doing something you would never think could be synchronized!

The next scene was a very realistic fight between Marci (Natalie Briggs) and Phil (Connor Ornsby) that was very telling of the strain on their marriage. I thought that both Briggs and Ornsby brought to light how the “little things” can build up and cause a blow up if two individuals in a partnership fail to communicate and put forth effort to understand each other. I found myself very absorbed in this scene; I was so amazed at how Briggs and Ornsby stepped into their characters so well and unfolded their argument right in front of the audience, without holding back their anger and frustration. They were simply waiting for the “other shoe to drop” after everything they had gone through and their breaking point was when Phil forgot he and Marci’s anniversary. 

Dohan then takes the stage again as Hope, who came back to Almost after traveling for work in search of her old lover, Daniel (Ryan Thaw). She arrives at his old house, failing to recognize Daniel as she rambles on and on about how leaving him after he proposed to her was the biggest mistake she had made. Until, when he called her Hope without asking for her name, she realized he was there all along and embraced him in a wholesome hug. However, it was too late, because he was married, during which Dohan experiences a loss of love and heartbreak in the end. 

Levine and Parisi during the last scene, “Epilogue.”

Last but not least, Dave (Daniel Loges) and Rhonda (Veronica Girandola) definitely left a memorable performance on stage! The story begins with Dave having painted Rhonda a portrait, as they have been close friends for years. However, it was one of those pictures with “lots of little dots” that form a bigger picture, and Loges made the crowd laugh by instructing Rhonda to “trick” the portrait in order to see what it really is. As Dave started to confess his love to Rhonda, she got psyched out and began frantically “tricking” the portrait to avoid the conversation, even though she eventually confessed her love herself! The scene had a chaotic end, with them kissing and going into the house. And the play was closed with Ginette (Gabriella Lavine) and Pete (Rocco Parisi) reuniting in a wholesome hug! 

Overall, this play was amazing and very well-done! All of the cast did a great job portraying their characters, and I thought it was so impressive how some of the members of the cast played multiple parts and did so flawlessly. Also, a well-deserved shoutout to the crew and directors, who did an exceptional job putting together and detailing the sets and running the behind the scenes of the show! I would recommend this show to anyone who hasn’t seen it already, as well as to go see the spring musical to see another amazing performance by the Patriot Players! 

Here are some thoughts on the show from other students and staff at FTHS: 

Almost, Maine was an amazing show! It was so funny and well-performed; all of the cast and crew did such a great job! I would definitely recommend the show and would see it again if I could.” – Ashley Lonseth ’25

“I enjoyed it very much! I thought it was cool that instead of having a play with one major plot, it was divided into ‘mini plays’ with intimate conversations in each of them.” – Robert Rallo ’24

“A rollercoaster of emotions! It had me in tears of sadness, joy, and laughter.” – Matthew Lonseth ’24

“It was fascinating and intriguing! I always wanted to see what would happen next.” – Paige Dunberg ’24

Understudies: Ginette: Adelaide Bertrand; Pete: Daniel Loges; Glory: Allison Karmazin; East: Ryan Thaw; Waitress: Gabi Lavine; Sandrine: Veronica Girandola; Jimmy: Daniel Lanza; Marvalyn: Allison Karmazin; Steve: Burak Tasoz; Lendall: Daniel Loges; Gayle: Natalie Briggs; Randy: Daniel Loges; Chad: Ryan Thaw; Marci: Gabi Levine; Phill: Burak Tasoz; Hope: Adelaide Bertrand; Man: Daniel Lanza; Rhonda: Natalie Briggs; Dave: Ryan Thaw

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