Almost, Maine

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Almost, Maine
Written byJohn Cariani
Date premiered2004
Place premieredPortland Stage Company
Portland, Maine
Original languageEnglish
GenreRomantic Comedy
Official site

Almost, Maine is a play by John Cariani, comprising nine short plays that explore love and loss in a remote, mythical almost-town called Almost, Maine. It premiered at the Portland Stage Company in Portland, Maine in 2004 where it broke box office records and garnered critical acclaim.


There are eleven short scenes:

  • Prologue - Pete & Ginette

A couple explores the distance between them.

  • Her Heart - East & Glory

Glory finds herself in East’s yard as she waits for the Northern Lights.

  • Sad and Glad - Jimmy & Sandrine

Sandrine enters an awkward situation after running into an ex.

  • This Hurts - Steve & Marvalyn

An unlikely friendship begins with an incident in the laundry room.

  • Getting It Back - Lendall & Gayle

Gayle wants the love she gave Lendall back.

  • Interlogue - Pete

Pete missed an opportunity.

  • They Fell - Randy & Chad

Feelings change in this friendship.

  • Where It Went - Phil & Marci

A married couple waits for the other shoe to drop.

  • Story of Hope - Daniel & Hope

Daniel lost hope.

  • Seeing the Thing - Dave & Rhonda

Dave helps Rhonda see the most important thing.

  • Epilogue - Pete & Ginette

Pete and Ginette can be close again.

Aside from a few references in dialogue to characters in other scenes, the stories do not intertwine.

Reviews and awards[edit]

Almost, Maine opened Off-Broadway at the Daryl Roth Theatre on 12 January 2006 and closed on 12 February 2006. Directed by Gabriel Barre, the cast included Todd Cerveris, Justin Hagan, Miriam Shor, and Finnerty Steeves.[1] Though its Off Broadway run was brief, the play is featured in Smith and Kraus' New Playwrights: Best Plays of 2006 and has proved popular in professional and nonprofessional theatre companies worldwide. In 2017-2018, it was the most produced play in North American high schools, supplanting Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.[2]

The New York Times review of the play in 2006 was mixed: “A comedy comprising almost a dozen two-character vignettes exploring the sudden thunderclap of love and the scorched earth that sometimes follows, John Cariani’s play will evoke either awww-s or ick-s, depending on your affection for its whimsical approach to the joys and perils of romance.”[3]

A New York Times review of another production at TheatreWorks in Hartford in 2013 was positive: “John Cariani’s Almost, Maine is a series of nine amiably absurdist vignettes about love, with a touch of good-natured magic realism ... This is a beautifully structured play, with nifty surprise endings (most but not all of them happy) and passing references to characters from other vignettes, which slyly tell us more about them. Mr. Cariani describes the play’s subject as ‘falling in and out of love’. It is just as much about pain.” [4]

  • Selected by the American National Theatre as one of the most outstanding regional theatre productions of the 2004-2005 season.[5]
  • Featured in New Playwrights: Best Plays of 2006.[6]
  • Most produced play in North American high schools 2009–2010[7] and 2011–2012.[8]


In October 2014, Maiden High School in North Carolina canceled a production of Almost, Maine after "some parents and area churches complained about the play’s inclusion of a same-sex couple" according to students. Principal Rob Bliss released a statement describing the play as having "sexually-explicit overtones and multiple sexual innuendos that are not aligned with our mission and educational objectives." [9]

John Cariani contacted a local news outlet about the controversy and was quoted as saying "I believe the play is about love, not sexual love. The scene with the two young men has no reference to sex at all." Cariani added: "I just think there is a solution other than canceling the production. I’ve reached out to the teacher who applied for rights to the play, but I haven’t heard back. I don’t think the students should have to suffer. They had already purchased the play and started rehearsing for it." [10]

With the involvement of a local teacher, Carmen Eckard, the group performed the play off-campus in mid January, after raising over $6,000 on Kickstarter. The play was directed by local actor and attorney William Morgan.[11]


  1. ^ Cariani, John (2007). Script, Almost Maine Almost Maine. Dramatists Play Service, Inc. ISBN 0-8222-2156-X. Retrieved 9 December 2010 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "10 Most-Produced High School Plays and Musicals of 2017–2018 | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  3. ^ Isherwood, Charles (16 January 2006). "Down East, So Much Love, Exciting and New". Theater reviews. The New York Times.
  4. ^ Gates, Anita (15 February 2013). "Almost Maine at TheaterWorks". Review. The New York Times.
  5. ^ Alleman, Annie (2012). "Re-live love's near misses in PTL's Almost, Maine". The Herald News. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
  6. ^ OCLC. "New Playwrights: The Best Plays of 2006". WorldCat. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  7. ^ Peter, Thomas (2010). "Top 10 Lists Announced for Most-Performed Plays and Musicals in High Schools". Playbill. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  8. ^ Moore, Keeley (2012). "LHS drama class opens tonight with Almost, Maine". High Plains Times and Leader. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  9. ^ Ford, Zack (16 October 2014). "High school cancels popular play over allusion to same-sex relationship". Think Progress. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  10. ^ "Playwright speaks out about play canceled at local school". WSOC-TV. Cox Media Group. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  11. ^ "Following school cancellation and Kickstarter success students present independent production of Almost, Maine". Playbill.

External links[edit]