Almost, Maine, an often touching and sometimes hysterically funny romantic comedy, runs now through Dec. 20 at Stage 3 Theatre Company in historic downtown Sonora. The final show of their 2015 season, this John Cariani play tells a story of love, loss and longing in a series of nine vignettes with the six actors playing multiple roles.
Almost, Maine premiered at the Portland Stage Company in Portland, Maine in 2004 and opened off Broadway in 2006. The New York Daily News called Almost, Maine “Sweet, poignant, and witty. Nearly perfect.”
“I fell in love with the script when I read it over a year ago,” said Director Rocky Rhoades. “And I’m so happy to have this opportunity. Almost, Maine is a fictional unincorporated town in Northern Maine populated by everyday people in sometimes extraordinary situations. It’s about all the things that make us and break us, love, longing, loss and it’s a great show for the whole family during the holiday season.”
The cast is an assortment of Stage 3 newcomers and veterans. Sara Jessica Garcia plays three roles in Almost, Maine and this is her first time performing with Stage 3.
“My experience with Stage 3 has been great so far, and I’ve met a lot of great people. I’m really looking forward to performing in such a unique and intimate space.”
Also new to Stage 3 is valley actress Sheri Garland. She has been in many productions for Stockton Civic Theatre, Delta College and Community Theatre of Linden. She’s also appeared in many short films.
“I’m excited to be working in the Stage 3 space because it’s an intimate venue with a thrust stage configuration, and the people are so close to you that you don’t have to worry so much about being ‘big’ or exaggerating your movement and volume,” said Garland. “You can relax into the character and communicate the emotions of the characters in a much more genuine way. You share the space with the audience and I like that a lot.”
Emily Kentta is returning to Stage 3 after her critically acclaimed role in Five Women Wearing the Same Dress from earlier this season.
“I have had the great pleasure of performing in many spaces,” said Kentta, “but Stage 3 is special and far and away one of my favorites. Blocking on a thrust stage can be challenging because it is different but also allows for more natural human movement.”
Stage 3 has been a home away from home for Matthew Leamy for many, many years but most of his work for the small theatre company in historic downtown Sonora has been backstage. In Almost, Maine he gets to stretch his acting muscles a bit, playing four different characters.
While playing the other side of the stage is something a bit different for Leamy, he’s up for the challenge.
“It actually came as a bit of a surprise. When Rocky first asked me to join the cast I was assuming that it would be a smaller role,” said Leamy. “It’s been a very long time since I focused only on acting. Even in other roles I’ve done at Stage 3 I was also working tech at the same time.”
Matthew Hobgood is fresh off his appearance in Equivocation at Murphys Creek Theatre. This is his second role with Stage 3 after appearing as the Desk Clerk in the 2015 season opener, Hughie.
“I’m so thrilled to be at Stage 3 again and working with this cast is amazing. The group of actors that Rocky put together are truly outstanding.”
Also, in Almost, Maine is Stage 3s’ resident Technical Director Hugo F Martinez. He directed this seasons Seascape with Sharks and Dancer but this is his first time under the lights at Stage 3. Martinez is no stranger to the stage having appeared in numerous productions in the valley.
“The difference, for me at least is the freedom I have as an actor on stage. Unlike some of the limitations you can experience from tech departments, on stage I can just play and cut loose.”
Rounding out the cast / crew is Matthew Trudell and Brie Shumway. They play the long suffering stagehands known as the Parka Posse. Shumway has been on stage at Stage 3 and has also been a Stage Manager. Trudell is a Stage 3 volunteer who has worked the bar for many Stage 3 shows and special events and this will be his first time on stage.
“I could not be more excited about this cast and crew, and this show. Almost, Maine is sweet, funny and touching and it’s the perfect cure for the winter blues,” added Rhoades.
Almost, Maine plays until Sunday, Dec. 20 with four shows a week, Friday and Saturday evening performances begin at 7 p.m. with live music in the lobby an hour before curtain, and Saturday and Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m. Stage 3 is located at 208 S. Green St., in historic downtown Sonora. Ticket prices are $17 for students, $22 for seniors and $25 for general admission. For reservations or more information visit Stage3.org or call 209 536 1778.