Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Almost Maine—Battle Ground Drama Club—Battle Ground, WA

Making The World Go Round

This dark comedy of the nature of love and relationships is written by John Cariani and directed by Stephan “Cash” Henry (BGHS’s Drama Director) with set and program design by Sundance Wilson Henry.  It is playing at The Lair (cafeteria) in Battle Ground High School, 300 W. Main St., through February 11th.  This group has also been selected to represent North America by performing this play at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in August of this year!  (Read more about this at the end of this review.)  For more information about this show and fundraising for their trip, contact Henry at henry.stephan@battlegroundps.org

And, as the heading suggests, Love does just that or, at least, it should.  As Henry puts it, “…love is the most confusing and wonderful emotion in the pantheon of emotions that we as human beings can feel.  It brings us up higher than we ever thought possible, and it can bring us down to depths of loss that we cannot fathom.  It is truly a many splendored thing.”  I might add, as has been said, “Do not seek out Love, for Love, if it finds You worthy, will guide Your course.”  In other words, go with the flow and it will take you where you need to be.

This is a heady play for anyone, but especially for teenagers who have, perhaps, already slid pass the “puppy love” phase, are rounding the bases of touch-and-feel and are just entering that mysterious realm of what-does-it-all-mean.  And, quite honestly, this is a pretty good play to explore those many moods of love and loss, especially in these troubled times.  “What the World needs now, is Love, sweet Love…”  Amen to that!


The play is told in about nine scenes.  The Prologue opens with two skiers, Pete (Arty Ricardo) and Ginette (Katie Beard) who have just met and are obviously smitten with each other.  But, he explains, in an odd sort of logic, that two people sitting next to each other are actually far apart if you look at it circumference-wise.  At this point, she leaves.  In the next scene, we encounter Glory (Trinity Weaver) camping out on a residence’s lawn, who is a total stranger, to see the Northern Lights.  The owner of the property, East (Thomas Rismoem), is bemused but also attracted to this stranger.  She explains that she must say goodbye to a former love who had, quite literally, broken her heart, and so she had to…but you’ll just have to see it to find out for yourself. 

The next scene involves two old flames, Jimmy (Tanner Opdahl) and Sandrine (Sammy Carroll) that have a chance meeting at a bar.  He hopes to rekindle their romance but she has a surprise for him.  The barmaid (Sadie Richmond) also figures into the plot in an eerie way.  In the third scene Marvalyn (Cass Brown) meets a neighbor, Steve (Justin Kunkel), who claims that he cannot feel pain and demonstrates it.  But he soon finds out there is one pain he is not immune to.  In the fourth scene, a couple is splitting up.  Gayle (Jamie Allen) wants back the love she gave to her boyfriend, Lendall (Jaden Denfeld) and he wants the same, but they discover there is an unbalance in the scales and a surprise in store for her.

In the following scene, Deena (Ceile O’Donnell) and Shelley (Jessie Akerley) find out there is more to “falling” in love than they expected, and a twist that they didn’t see coming.  In the sixth scene, Phil (Mason Gardner) and Marci (Bailey Paris), are a married couple at a skating rink, on the point of breaking up.  But wishing on a star brings an unexpected bonus.  In possibly the most touching scene, a Woman (Lauren Southwick) returns to her old hometown to find her lost love, but soon discovers from the current owner of the house (Jack Harvison), he has moved on.  But, at least, now she has an answer to the burning question he asked many years ago.  In scene eight, Rhonda (Cassidy MacAdam) and Dave (Skyler Denfeld), have been best friends for years but, because of an abstract painting he has done and given to her, Fate proves to have another twist in store for their relationship.  And, in the Epilogue, to tie up the story from the Prologue, the relationship comes “full circle.”

I can’t tell you much about any of the scenes as there are discoveries the audience must make.  But, be assured, although there may be odd happenings within the individual scenes, there is a warmth, truth, humor and a tugging of the heartstrings you will not soon forget.  The title refers to an unincorporated township within the organized state of Maine but, I sense, it is a metaphor for an alternate, quirky universe within the standard, mundane one we are use to, one commenting on the other.

Ms. Wilson’s rendering of the Northern Lights is quite lovely.  And Mr. Henry, as always, has delivered not only something special for the audience but, more importantly, that magic overflows into the care and dedication he has extended to his students, who are lucky enough to have him as a teacher, for it will benefit them tenfold as the years progress!

The teen cast, getting into some pretty deep material, do a very good job of presenting their characters.  I especially liked MacAdam and Denfeld, both seasoned from past shows here, as the eccentric couple, exploring a wide range of emotions.  Also Akerley and especially, O’Donnell, traverse both abstractly and literally some topical issues.  And Southwick and Harvison are very effective in, as I said, a very touching episode.  Kudos to the whole cast!

As I promised, here is how you can help send these young people to Scotland this summer.  Something to keep in mind, think back to when you were their age and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like this came your way.  You would jump on it, I’m sure.  So give these young folks a chance to live out those, perhaps, unrealized dreams of yours when you were young.  They are within spitting distance of achieving this goal so you, as an individual and/or as a member of a company/organization you may be part of, can make a dream come true.  If you have any experience in Giving, I think you know the warmth that’s generated from within when you do this. Give from the heart.  And here’s…..Henry:

"The Battle Ground Drama Club has been chosen as one of only 40 schools nationwide, out of more than 3,500 that were nominated, to attend and perform at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest performing arts festival. We have raised more than $85,000 towards our $110,000 goal to take all the registered participants to Scotland, but we need the community’s help in completing our fundraising campaign successfully. At the moment, we have enough raised to guarantee that at least 13 students and chaperones will be able to go, and we only need to raise approximately $20,000 more to insure that all 18 registered participants can attend this life-changing and educationally positive experience.

Please donate today by sending your tax deductible donation, with a check made out to BGHS, to:
Battle Ground High School, PO Box 200, Battle Ground, WA 98604 ATTN: Stephan “Cash” Henry – Drama Director.

Thank you in advance for your generous support of the Battle Ground Drama Club, and for helping us to successfully represent our community on an international stage.”


I do recommend this show and their efforts to attend this Festival.  If you do choose to see the show or donate, please tell them Dennis sent you