Woodrige College to stage ‘Almost Maine’

2018-03-08 06:01
Woodridge College will present Almost Maine at the Pemads Little Theatre in Port Elizabeth from March 22 to 24. The cast members are (back left)Nyal Josly, Gabi van der Walt, Jesse Christie, Olivia Cockcroft. (middle) Tatyana Ribeiro, Paballo Matsimela, Batian Nolte, Arne von Hagen, Chuli Kate, Kerry de Villiers, Siyabonga Motaung, (front) Asiphesona Gwana, Giverny Howorth, Yanga Biyana, Luke Erasmus, Lois Felix and Chloë Duval.Photo:SUPPLIED

Woodridge College will present Almost Maine at the Pemads Little Theatre in Port Elizabeth from March 22 to 24. The cast members are (back left)Nyal Josly, Gabi van der Walt, Jesse Christie, Olivia Cockcroft. (middle) Tatyana Ribeiro, Paballo Matsimela, Batian Nolte, Arne von Hagen, Chuli Kate, Kerry de Villiers, Siyabonga Motaung, (front) Asiphesona Gwana, Giverny Howorth, Yanga Biyana, Luke Erasmus, Lois Felix and Chloë Duval.Photo:SUPPLIED

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WOODRIDGE College will present Almost Maine from the pen of the American playwright John Cariani at the Pemads Little Theatre in Port Elizabeth from March 22 to 24.

Almost Maine premiered at the Portland Stage Company in Portland, Maine in 2004, where it broke box office records and won critical acclaim. It has subsequently proved to be an incredibly successful student production in the United States. The New York Times describes this theatrical gem as ‘a series of nine amiably absurdist vignettes about love, with a touch of good-natured magic realism’ and highlights its ‘witty, romantic, unsentimental’ qualities.

A story-line focused solely on love could very easily prove hackneyed and woolly, as so many ‘Hollywoodised’ romantic comedies serve to illustrate. In Almost Maine, however, the gradual unfolding of each scene makes for gripping theatrical entertainment, capturing the nuanced and unpredictable nature of emotions in a way to which both young and old can relate.

The Woodridge production of Almost Maine follows hot on the heels of its acclaimed rendition of the Kramer/Petersen musical District Six. The vibrancy and gusto with which the latter was brought to the stage, less than two months after a devastating fire tore through the Woodridge campus, proved particularly remarkable. Both productions do, of course, have the complexity of human interactions as undercurrent, but whereas District Six dealt with forced removals on the southern tip of Africa, the characters in Almost Maine marvel at the Northern Lights. Notwithstanding the latter production’s ‘foreign’ backdrop, the insight and enthusiasm projected by the youthful cast is inspirational – an observation that attests both to the universal appeal of Almost Maine and to the masterful direction of Caren Bestbier.

Caren, currently Head of Dramatic Arts at Woodridge College, has over 20 years of experience in theatre and drama. She is an award-winning Stage Manager, Lighting and Set Designer who started her career as an Assistant Stage Manager at the PE Opera House. After studying towards a BA Dramatic Arts at Wits, she also successfully moved onstage, performing in numerous student productions, including a play that was performed in the Czech Republic. She won the PEMADS Best Actress award in 2016 for her performance in The Ex Factor, and the Showtime Best Supporting Actress award in 2017 for Careful. District Six, her 2017 debut as director, recently scooped prestigious Woodlands Dairy Showtime awards.

Be sure not to miss her beautifully crafted merger of Woodridge talent and subtle American theatrical flair, as displayed in Almost Maine!

Tickets for the show are available electronically through quicket.co.za at R95, with block bookings for a minimum of 10 people at R80 per person. Further queries may be directed to lestie.hughes@woodridge.co.za.

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