Brebeuf Students Take the Maine Stage

New Drama Teacher Makes Debut with Almost Maine


Mary Claire Sullivan, Staff Writer

“I wanted to produce something that would entertain the audience as well as challenge the actors,” said Mr. Tobin Strader, Brebeuf’s theatre teacher and director of Almost Maine. On October 17th and 18th, Strader and Brebeuf students received applause for their production of the play Almost Maine, written by John Cariani.

Almost Maine takes place in a Northern Maine town that is so small it almost does not exist. This romantic comedy is a collection of vignettes with a love connection as the focus of each scene. Brebeuf junior Feyi Osuntokun, or Sandrine in the play, said “There’s about ten scenes, and each one has two actors as the main parts; we’re never all on stage together.”

The inhabitants of this town, played by Brebeuf seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshmen, all seem to be searching for two things: love and closure. Whenever a love connection is made, the northern lights, visible in the town Almost, Maine, provide a unique aesthetic of beauty and togetherness.

This play is filled with breakups, make-ups, and new beginnings of all sorts. In one of the opening scenes, Chad Smitson and Sammi Bilitz, portraying East and Glory, create a connection when Glory has hopes of seeing the northern lights and East attempts to fix her heart. Jackson Wheeler and Feyi Osuntokun, playing Jimmy and Sandrine, have an awkward reunion in the bar where Sandrine is having her bachelorette party, and Jimmy finally moves on from their past relationship. Peyton Givan and Nikhil Jain, portraying Gayle and Lendall, almost experience a breakup but realize they’ve given each other too much love to end it now. These are just a few of the many connections that make or break in Almost Maine.

The actors practiced this production for weeks, and the stage crew and constructors perfected the ambiance on stage along with them. Not only was this a learning experience for new theater techniques, but the lessons also applied real life. Strader believes that Almost Maine “has lessons to teach us all, young and old: seek closure.”

The Cast

Ginette: Delia Novak

Pete: Kevin O’Sullivan

East: Chad Smitson

Glory: Sammi Bilits

Jimmy: Jackson Wheeler

Sandrine: Feyikemi Osuntokun

Waitress: Lillia Mansfield

Marvalyn: Krista Grendze

Steve: Zev Burton

Gayle: Peyton Givan

Lendall: Nikhil Jain

Chad: Jackson Wheeler

Randy: Chad Smitson

Phil:  Nikhil Jain

Marci: Emily Meyers

Hope: Campbell Jenkins

Man: David Kurzendorfer

Rhonda: Audrey Robins

Dave: Jon Tague