The magic of love, in a magical little town

Published 8:00 am Thursday, April 26, 2018

Tryon Little Theater to debut last show of season Thursday

TRYON — For its final play of the season, the Tryon Little Theater will be taking audiences on a trip to the great white North of Maine to experience the highs and lows of one of humanity’s most fundamental tales — falling in love.

The local community theater will debut its production of John Cariani’s “Almost, Maine” at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Tryon Little Theater workshop, 516 S. Trade St., Tryon. The show will run over the next two weekends, April 26-29 and May 3-6, with Thursday through Saturday performances beginning at 8 p.m., and Sunday performances beginning at 3 p.m.

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Tickets for the show cost $16 for adults and $11 for students, and may be purchased online at or at the theater box office, which is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The comedy is set in the fictional town of Almost, Maine, an unincorporated village that does not exist on any map in the world of the play. As East (Guy Winker), one of the characters describes it, “to be a town, you gotta get organized. And we never got around to gettin’ organized.”

Taking place within the limits of this almost-town are a series of nine vignettes, where characters find new love, let go of old flames and discover the ways that the mysterious emotion draws people together. While the play is light hearted and whimsical, every facet of romance is explored, from infatuation to heartbreak.

“In nine scenes, the play encapsulates any kind of romantic relationship anyone has ever had,” said director Joel Perkin, who is helming his first production at the TLT, though he has acted in several plays at the community theater the last several years.

Part of the unique charm of the show are the unique ways that Cariani tells the story of the inhabitants of Almost — for instance, many metaphors, such as “carrying a broken heart,” are made literal, with one of the characters, Glory (Lori Lee), carrying what remains of her heart in a plastic bag following the death of her husband, Perkin said.

Even with these “magical moments,” as Perkin describes them, the strength of the play lies in its  characters, and the actors who bring them to life. While the show originally called for only four actors to play the 19 roles in the show, Perkin’s cast has eight performers — who range in age from their 20s to their 60s — which has allowed him create different combinations of players for each vignette, he said.

“The best theater is where audiences can see a piece of themselves in each character,” Perkin said. “This show does that very well.”

With the dialog requiring characters to often speak over each other or to say their lines at very specific moments, the cast has had to work especially hard to develop great chemistry with one another — something Perkin said they have nailed over the past six weeks, leading into Thursday’s opening. The director, who has been a fan of “Almost, Maine” for years, said he has been thrilled to see the TLT cast bring the show to life during rehearsals, which have made him laugh and “grin like an idiot” while watching the actors work.

Perkin encourages theater fans to visit TLT to see the family-friendly show during its run these next two weekends.

“Come fall in love in a town that doesn’t exist,” Perkin said.

An opening night reception will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, with beer, wine and other refreshments offered to guests.

For more information about the play or the TLT, call 828-859-2466 or visit