Almost Maine: An enthralling theater production


Kassandra Aguirre, Assistant Editor

West Covina High School Theater’s rendition of American actor and playwright John Coriani’s “Almost Maine”, performed in the Bulldog Cafe from May 4-6 told the story of six couples in the town of Almost, Maine and their different experiences with love. 

The prologue commences with a nervous Ginette, played by sophomore Marley Herrera, confessing her feelings to Pete, played by junior Mario Salinas, which despite his reciprocation, is soiled when he unintentionally pushes her away, as he implied they were nearly worlds apart (which he thoughtfully demonstrates with a snowball,). The hour-and-a-half long production was performed similarly to chapters in a book, with each of the scenes featuring short stories and new sets of characters. The only exception being the recurring Pete and Ginette who appear three times total. 

Herrera’s expression of Ginette’s dejection left a regretful Pete to ponder her return for the duration of the play, which could have been seen during intermission where he restlessly stirred in silence awaiting Ginette’s return. It all ends up well in the conclusion where the couple reconcile in each other’s embrace under the northern lights and fresh snow. 

Although some scenes like “Her Heart,” “They Fall” and the scandalously hilarious “Seeing the Thing” embody the rom-com nature of the play, most of the other scenes display uncertainty and in some cases unhappy endings for other couples. 

Scene 3, “Sad and Glad”, depicted a drunk and heartbroken Jimmy, played by sophomore Alex Negrete, as he reunited with his ex-girlfriend Sandarine, played by junior Jade Coronado, on the night of her bachelorette party. A short awkward conversation between the two revealed Jimmy’s unrequited love as Sandarine confronted him with the harsh reality that she’d moved on and he had to do the same. 

The audience further grows to pity Jimmy’s circumstance when Sandarine finds “Villian” tattooed on his forearm, a tattoo that he got after their separation that was supposed to say “Villain,” marking himself unworthy of love. As Sandarine returned to her party, Jimmy is left alone until his waitress went outside to comfort him and introduced herself as Villian. Her name matching his tattoo, leaving him hopeful for a future between them confirmed in a witty final dialogue. 

Negrete went in-depth on the value of such emotionally complex scenes. 

“The message is that love shows up in many different ways… this play reinvents your thought process and shows you just how grand love truly can be,” said Negrete. 

One of the most impressively performed scenes in the play was scene 5 “Getting it back” that featured middle-aged couple Lendall, played by sophomore Jim Caberra, and Gayle, played by junior Lyannah Tibere, in a heated argument over their disintegrating marriage. The expression of anger and frustration to exhaustion and finally surrender in the scene is perfectly executed. With neither Caberra nor Tibere showing hesitancy in expressing the impassioned emotions couples fighting to salvage a dwindling connection endure, making it undeniably the most masterfully executed scenes in the production. 

In an effort to cover dark themes in scenes that include disability and heartbreak, while maintaining the positivity of love, student director Citlali Jimenez, junior, made sure to highlight the romantic and comedic elements of the production. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing the cast have fun and do so in a way where they can feel good about themselves, but also in a way which accomplishes my vision for the show,” said Jimenez. 

Almost Maine tackled the almost unfathomable human experience of love both roses and thorns, in just a matter of hours with poise . An exploration of humanity so well-executed it prompted the audience to exit the performance with a new perspective they could take into their own lives. 

In the words of Negrete, “It’s almost love, kind of like Almost Maine.”