NHA Presents “Almost, Maine”

     On the morning of Friday, November 17, 2023, students arrived at the Yardley Community Centre to watch New Hope Academy’s performance of “Almost Maine.” The cast applied their makeup, dressed in costume, and set their mics. They gathered on the stage for mic checks, then did their secret play ritual and headed backstage. Every time they ran a show, they did this exact checklist, and on the final night of the show, the cast and crew received roses and bouquets, as well as many accolades. The show was a success, and all 9 students who acted, as well as the pit, led by teachers Chris Cinalli and Cameron Stahl, the crew, and staff advisors were ecstatic that the hard work of the weeks leading up to the performance paid off. The entire audience, students, staff, administrators, and families were extremely proud of the production, and many stated this was their favorite NHA performance yet.
     The long process of preparing for opening night began on Friday, September 20, 2023 when Yardley Music teacher Jenna Alvino posted the cast list, which announced New Hope Academy’s 2023 play, the 4th revision of John Cariani’s “Almost Maine.” “Almost Maine” is a series of vignettes featuring love stories based in the fictional town of Almost, Maine. There are 19 characters with one thing in common: love. In every story, when a moment of true love or realization occurs, the northern lights appear above them.
     With a few minor changes, NHA’s production featured nine students. These students were chosen for their talents and skills, as our Director, Janna Alvino has stated, in addition, acknowledging the many people who tried out for the play, those who performed music in the pit, and provided lighting and sound.
     From the start of the play, the cast had clearly studied their lines and blocking. A regular rehearsal would consist of the kids gathering in the yoga room or the big room at the Yardley campus, they would turn in their phones and run their lines and blocking. On October 24, 2023, the cast and crew had what they called a build day, where they painted the set pieces and cut out the background. With an off-book date set for November 1st, those involved had a few rehearsals where they practiced all day and ate some good food. Their final all-day rehearsal was on November 10th, at the Doylestown campus.
     One of the main love stories in the play was about Pete and Ginette. We see them sitting on a bench. Pete has a lot of issues with his feelings and saying I love you. Ginette is a go-getting girl who is ready for life. She knows a lot about outer space, is in love with Pete, and is willing to move heaven and earth for him. She says that they think they are as close as they possibly can be. Pete says that actually, if you think the world is round, we are as far away as they possibly can be. We then see Ginette, in Pete’s terms, getting closer and closer as she walks away from him, and then later Pete enters looking for Ginette but can’t find her, and at the end of the play, we see Ginette and Pete walk on opposite sides. Ginette explains how she walked all the way around the world to finally be close.
     These characters were played by Noah Lacy (‘24) who played Gayle and Marci, Pebble Pressler (‘24) who played East and Marvaline, Addyson Scott (‘25) who played Glory and Rhonda, Brody Valentin (‘25) who played Randy and Dave, Keigo Scarlatta (‘25) who played Jimmy, Lendall, Chad, and Danny, Mio Drudis (‘26) who played Pete and Steve, Maddie Gorniak (‘26) who played Sandrine and Philice, Ana Torres (‘26) who played Ginette and Hope, and Kevin Reigner (‘29) who played Villian and Suzette.
Written by: Brody Valentin (’25)

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