Review: Romantic comedy ‘Almost, Maine’ tugs at your emotions


El Camino College student Tim Avila, left, proposes to Gayle, played by Alexa Ocampo during opening day of “Almost, Maine” on Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Campus Theatre. The play features nine short but connected love stories. Mari Inagaki/The Union

Through the afternoon, the audience was full of laughter, awws, gasps, ohhs and ahhs as each scene provided a different situation pertaining to aspects of love.

A night full of stars and a dimly lit backdrop introduced the audience to the small, fictional town of Almost, Maine on Thursday, Oct. 10, at 1 p.m. in El Camino College’s Campus Theatre.

19 ECC student actors exhibited love, loss and heartbreak in the witty eight act vignette, “Almost, Maine,” a collection of short scenes on one theme, directed by adjunct professor Matthew Singletary.

“This is an opportunity for 19 actors to have a substantial role in these small 10 to 15 minute vignettes,” Singletary said.

The original play usually only has four cast members to play the 19 characters, but this set up gives opportunity to a lot of students to get on stage and really work, Singletary said.

El Camino College student Tim Avila, left, kisses Gayle, played by Alexa Ocampo during opening day of “Almost, Maine” on Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Campus Theatre. Mari Inagaki/The Union. Photo credit: Mari Inagaki

The actors captured the audience’s attention with impeccable comedic timing and display of emotion through each act.

“You go girl,” an audience member said aloud, reacting to a scene in the play titled “Getting it Back,” in which a proposal was made to Gayle, a character that literally returns the love of her long-time boyfriend, Lendall, in the form of big red bags.

The play tugs on your emotions as the characters go through the ups and downs of navigating love and growing pains. Some characters find out it’s time to move on from their lovers while other characters are just falling in love and stumbling upon their new loves.

El Camino College student Alexa Ocampo (Gayle), right, breaks up with Tim Avila (Lendall) after suffering issues in their relationship in the presentation of “Almost, Maine” on Thursday, Oct. 10. Mari Inagaki/The Union

“It’s something that everybody can really identify with you can laugh, you’ll fall in love, you’ll get heart broken and then you end the night,” Singletary said.

A total of nine short scenes occur on the same night in the same town between nine different couples that are connected in one way or another, it is a small town after all.

“Almost, Maine” is a play that’s similar to a host of movies that have the same vignette themes such as “New Years Eve,” “Love Actually” and “Playing by Heart,” to name a few.

“I thought it was nicely produced, the stage and lighting,” Karinna Madrid, 19, theatre major, said. “They did a good job of having well thought out characters in the short 10 minute acts they had”.

In “This Hurts,” act one, scene three, the character Steve, played by Craig Barck, is unable to feel pain, fear or love until his neighbor Marvalyn, played by Colleen McDermott, knocks him off his seat, showing what it’s like to feel.

El Camino College students Lindsey Stutz, left (Sandrine) and Joshua Gomez (Jimmy) meet again and talk about Sandrine’s marriage at the bar during the presentation of “Almost, Maine” on Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Campus Theatre. Mari Inagaki/The Union

“It was a good first run,” McDermott said in reference to opening day. “I thought it went well.

During the last act of the play, two friends Rhonda and Dave admit they like each other after a lot of resistance from Rhonda. The characters close the scene with a hilarious strip down, taking off each other’s clothes.

The Rhonda one was really funny,” Alexis Monzon, 20, theatre major, said. “I really liked the play, but that part was funny s—-“.

The awkward, romantic-comedy leaves the audience curious about what the outcome with each couples is as we breeze through every situation and move on to the next in this light hearted production.

Almost, Maine:

Remaning dates:

Saturday, Oct. 12, at 8 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 13, at 3 p.m.

Ticket Prices:

Students: $10

General Public, Staff and Faculty: $15


Campus Theatre, located in between Parking Lot J and K.


16007 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90506


For a map of the El Camino College campus, click here.