DVHS Drama kicks off the year with heartwarming performance in “Almost, Maine”


Neetra Chakraborty

The Saturday night crowd chatters excitedly during the intermission of “Almost, Maine.”

Tanvi Rao and Neetra Chakraborty

It’s 7 p.m. on a Saturday night. The theater lights dim and the crowd hushes. On stage, a boy and girl sit side by side on a bench. This is the introduction to “Almost, Maine,” the first DVHS drama production for the 2022-2023 school year. 

Running from Oct. 27-29, “Almost, Maine” is a series of nine short stories centered around love and heartbreak. It takes place during the span of one night in the fictional un-official town of Almost, Maine, where the events all have their own touch of surrealism and magic. 

The show starts with Pete (Aditya Unni) and Ginette (Keira Punsal) as they attempt to define their closeness to one another. Their scene cuts off at a heartbreaking moment, as Ginette storms off stage, but it serves to set up the themes and patterns through the rest of the show. Each scene of the play has its own moments of comedy and tragedy, delving into the many different layers of emotion that come with romance. There’s often something unexpected in each scene, a plot twist that is either profound or absurd and that leaves the audience speechless.

Certain production aspects show the attention to detail that went into “Almost Maine.” The sets and props are kept minimal to shine the spotlight on the characters and their interpersonal relationships. At the end of each scene the characters freeze, creating the effect that the audience was viewing a little “snapshot” in time. 

Gayle (Julia M’kai Sayyid) receives a ring from her love interest Lendall. Their story “Getting it Back” addresses miscommunication in relationships. (Neetra Chakraborty)

To contribute to its emotional aspect, “Almost, Maine” was heavily dialogue-based. Important phrases are repeatedly said, and the dialogue in every scene is a sort of back-and-forth between characters that keeps the audience on their toes. The cadence of lines is slightly awkward, but this isn’t a bad thing — it adds to the endearing nature of the show. However, because of the fast-paced dialogue and a few audio issues, it was sometimes difficult to follow what the actors were saying. 

Good acting is also essential to bringing out the complexities of a character, and the cast for “Almost Maine” did a fantastic job. In the fourth scene, Gayle (Julia M’kai Sayyid) gets proposed to. Sayyid conveys the character’s shock and complex emotions perfectly, down to the slight quivers in her hands and voice. Her explosive but emotional acting was a highlight of the show.

In scene 5, “They Fell,” Randy (Pierce Muhammad) and Chad (Calvin Tiamzon) fall in love — quite literally. Tiamzon and Muhammad repeatedly fall flat on their faces as they realize their love, executing this with skill and dedication and drawing laughter and awe from the audience. As a whole, the cast had a consistency through their acting that suited the mood of the play, tying each scene together.

Because of the nuanced acting, the characters were well-developed and viewers enjoyed seeing the characters change through the course of their respective scenes. 

“My favorite part of the play is getting to the ending and seeing who the characters turned out to be,” said Emma Lee, who attended the play on Saturday night. “When their act is over, you get to know the whole character story.”

The play comes to a satisfying end with Ginette coming back to Pete from the other side of the stage, signifying that she had walked around the entire world for him. This touching moment neatly wrapped up the show in a heartwarming, cozy way. Despite the slightly unconventional format of the production, the laughter, heartbreaks and ups and downs of “Almost Maine” kept audiences hooked.