Reviewed by Sandi Durell
It’s cold, snow is on the ground (literally) at the Gym at Judson in the Transport Group’s revival of “Almost, Maine” where John Cariani’s absurdist tales of love, romance, and magical humor and pathos bloom.
Why, did you know you can get closer to someone just walking around the globe – – it’s quite strange; and when your heart is broken, like Glory’s (Donna Lynne Champlin) into 19 little pieces that you carry around in a small bag because you feel responsible for killing your husband Wes, but find yourself falling for someone East (Kevin Isola) while waiting to catch the aurora borealis in his backyard, well . . .
In these series of vignettes one might feel they’ve lost touch with reality because you have! But isn’t that what love and romance are all about? In the “Story of Hope,” Kelly McAndrew waits many years to give the Man (Isola) she loves her answer when he presented her with a ring years back; so many years, in fact, that when she finally knocks on his door, doesn’t recognize him because so much time has passed, he’s already married to someone else.
The scenes are not immune to slapstick in “This Hurts” when Marvalyn (Champlin), doing laundry, meets Steve (John Cariani) who says he has congenital analgesia (can’t feel pain) as she folds up an ironing board, inadvertently flips it around knocking him on his head several times. Steve is busy putting a book together about things that can hurt, which means be afraid of ironing boards. But since there’s no blood, there’s no harm. Watch out for that emotional pain!
Sometimes when you fall, you fall constantly, over and over and over (“They Fell” – male & female versions) – – they just keep collapsing when the love bug bites.
Unsuspecting, Cariani, an actor and Tony nominee (Motel – Fiddler on the Roof 2004) has created an on-going touring play that can be found in theaters worldwide. It originally ran in NY in 2006 at the Daryl Roth Theatre.
Love blooms, love fades, life goes on. And there are chuckles and smiles aplenty and a touch of sadness here and there in these multi-vignettes taking place on a surreal winter Friday night in northern Maine lovingly directed by Jack Cummings III.
“Almost, Maine” – 2 Acts, 1 intermission – Gym at Judson, 243 Thompson St. NYC
Extended Thru March 2nd www.transportgroup.org
*Photos: Carol Rosegg