Stars to light up the stage in Guild’s “Almost Maine”

Photo by Sue Suchyta


Meredith Ferry (left) of Allen Park plays Marci and James Kirwan of Dearborn plays Phil in “Where it Went,” a scene from the John Cariani romantic comedy “Almost Maine.” The show runs weekends March 2 to 18, with 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday shows and 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees. For more information call 313-561-TKTS or go to www.playersguildofdearborn.org.

By SUE SUCHYTA
Two types of stars will light up the Players Guild of Dearborn stage in March as the human hams share the spotlight with a back drop of celestial orbs shining brightly as northern lights in the Guild’s production of John Cariani’s “Almost Maine.”

The show runs for three weekends, March 2 to 18, with 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday shows and 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees. For more information call (313) 561-TKTS or go to www.playersguildofdearborn.org.

Director Paul Bruce of Dearborn describes the show as a charming romantic comedy.

“It’s very brilliantly constructed,” Bruce said. “The author who put this together created a show that has 19 characters in it, and they all, with the exception of one scene, occur with only two people in each scene. Those two characters are then never seen for the rest of the evening.”

Bruce further explained that all of the scenes take place at the exact same time in the fictional small town.

He said that in every scene someone is either falling in or out of love or realizing they are right for each other, and that there are some clever things happening with the lighting and scenery that give the audience clues about what is occurring.

Bruce said the northern lights are part of the show’s magic, and credited the technical crew with creating some of the magic.

“We have some really wonderful tech people that are working on this show,” Bruce said. “I don’t want to give too much away, but the aurora borealis is integral to the plot.”

He added that the show was originally written for four people to play all 19 roles, but the author has noted in the script that he has no problem with each role being played by a different actor.

Bruce added that the large number of roles has made the play very popular with high schools and community theaters.

“We have like the all star cast for this show,” Bruce said. “We really lucked out. We actually had 46 people audition for this show and there are only 19 roles. We had people that were so wonderful and had to turn them down because there just weren’t any more parts to go around and we have 19 of your Players Guild favorites, people that you see in a lot of shows here who are doing a fabulous job with this show.

“We have a fabulous cast – they’re just incredible people (who have) done a magnificent job,” Bruce said. “A director couldn’t ask for better than what I’ve had here – a wonderful cast, wonderful crew (and) wonderful tech people.”

John Sczomak of Dearborn, who plays a man who is surprised by a late night visitor on his doorstep in “The Story of Hope,” said he’s had a lot of fun rehearsing the scene.

Linda Barsamian of Novi plays the woman who shows up on his doorstep late at night.

“My character is lacking things in life and she realizes that she missed the boat and so she comes back to Almost, Maine, to look for the person that she could have spent her life with,” Barsamian said.

She added that her character was immature early in their relationship, and has “grown up” by the time this scene occurs.

Barsamian added that’s she’s happy to be on the Guild stage again, having last performed in “Bye. Bye, Birdie” about 10 years ago.

Juliette Delabbio-Abbott of Allen Park, who last appeared on the Guild stage in “The Drowsey Chaperone” last spring, plays Marvalyn in the scene, “This Hurts.”

Her character is doing laundry when she meets Steve, who can’t feel pain.

“Throughout the course of the scene they discover things about each other and love, and it’s very nice,” Delabbio-Abbott said.

She said that people will enjoy the show overall because it covers all aspects of love.

“There’s people falling in love, people breaking up, people discovering love that they never thought they’d ever feel,” Delabbio-Abbott said.

She added that she loves being part of such a unique and diverse cast.

The one scene that features a relationship on the rocks, “Where It Went,” has given Meredith Ferry of Allen Park a chance to play a less romantic character, Marci, who is filled with an inner turmoil about her relationship with her husband Phil. She said there is a lot of pent up frustrations toward each other that come out in the scene.

“It’s one of the few sad endings in this show,” Ferry said. “I think it’s the only break-up.”

She said that married people will see something to relate to in their characters.

“One thing I love about the whole show, this scene in particular, is the realness of it,” Ferry said. “It’s so real – it’s almost too real.”

She hopes people take with them the same sense of realness after the final curtain.

“It’s so true to life,” Ferry said. “It’s just so exposing of all different types of relationships and it’s just real.”

She said the rehearsals have been fun, and she has wanted to work with director Paul Bruce for a while.

“It’s great to be back on the Guild stage, great to be working with Paul Bruce (and) great to be doing a show unlike any I’ve seen,” Ferry said.

Bruce said that while the show would likely have a PG rating, he would encourage people to allow their teens to see the show.

Bruce said he composed some original piano music for the show to save the Guild the expense of renting the music already available for the show, adding that while some of the music is used in the scenes, most is used between scenes.

“I wrote a piece that’s just ‘Themes and Variations on a Frozen Night,’” Bruce said. “And that’s the music that we use to change our sets around.”

He said he wrote five different themes that audiences will hear multiple times during the run of the show.

GUILD TO HOLD AUDITIONS FOR ‘THE PRODUCERS’
The Players Guild of Dearborn will hold auditions for the Mel Brooks musical comedy “The Producers” March 5 and 6 at the Players Guild of Dearborn, 21730 Madison in Dearborn. Registration begins at 6:30 p.m., with auditions beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Those auditioning should be prepared to sing, dance, and read from the script. They also should be prepared to list all potential rehearsal conflicts on the audition form.

Valerie Haas of Inkster will direct the show, which will run for four weekends, April 27 to May 20, with 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday shows and 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinees. For more information, call (313) 561-TKTS or go to www.playersguildofdearborn.org.

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