Win tickets for the upcoming production of Broadway Across Canada tour of Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at the end of this preview article for The ARTery Collective’s production of Almost Maine.
Luvia Petersen is a Canadian actress best known for her role on the TV series Continuum, where she is part of the main cast. Petersen is out as and co-owns a tattoo shop in Gastown area of Vancouver, called Liquid Amber Tattoo. In summer 2015, Luvia married her girlfriend Jessie Robertson.
Most Vancouver film actors are well-acquainted with the world of science fiction, having built their resumes on other-worldly television series’ such as The X-Files, Battlestar Galactica, and Supernatural. But amidst the tech jargon, green screens, and apocalyptic carnage, a group of actors known as ARTery Collective have set their sights on the much simpler world of Almost, Maine.
From April 15-22, 2017 at The Cultch, ARTery Collective along with title sponsor John Fluevog Shoespresents their inaugural production, “Almost, Maine” by John Cariani. The play features nine vignettes that explore love and loss in a remote, mythical almost-town called Almost, Maine.
Luvia, you are so busy in film and TV why do a play now?
A few month ago I felt an insatiable need to work on something I could get passionate about! Sometime film & TV can feed the belly, but it doesn’t always feed the heart 🙂 And so, I thought a play would be a great passion project. I started off by looking at the theatre casting calls, but I didn’t see anything that echoed the desire in my heart. So… I started reading a bunch of plays. I was obsessed! It didn’t take long before I found John Cariani’s Almost, Maine. I knew this was an engaging piece of theatre after the first scene. I remember looking up from the play and saying to my wife, “Oh my god I think I found the play I want to do!!”
What is so special about this play and it’s story?
Perhaps part of the reason I was drawn to Cariani’s play is that he too is an actor. In an interview he says that Almost Maine started out as a bunch of audition scenes that he wrote for himself and his colleagues. At some point they started to see a theme running through all their scenes… Love, or something close to it. I say that with a smile on my face because although Almost, Maine can be described as a Romantic Comedy it is so much more!
It’s no secret that I’m a BIG fan of Sci-Fi! When tackling the topic of love, Cariani does so with a sprinkle of magic realism that could have viewers calling it a Sci-Fi Love Story 🙂
How did you cast it?
Casting happened in a very organic way. After reading Almost, Maine I called up a few friends and organized a readthrough. The energy during the reading was exhilarating and lead to the formation of The ARTery Collective. This core group of seven members, Alison Araya, Alison Wandzura, Nancy Kerr, Nelson Leis, Omari Newton, Vanessa Walsh, and myself are working together to produce, direct and act in Almost, Maine.
Beyond the ARTery Collective group, we needed to fill some specific casting requirements for the play. We sent invitations to an array of local actors and are pleased to have added Broadus Mattison, Craig March, Edwin Perez and Tyson Sean to the cast.
What has been the most challenging part of the getting the play ready?
We aim to explore the theme of finding love in the face of insurmountable barriers. Barriers caused by socio economic class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation.
Omari Newton, our co-artistic director, has had a vision since the first read to source a visibly diverse cast for Almost, Maine. Although we are Producing a play written about rural people, we wanted to dive deeper than casting all white CISgendered folks. Our challenge is to remain true to the play’s themes and tone while exploring the diversity of perspectives and complexity of finding love through barriers in a post Trump elected world.
What has been the more rewarding part of working on the show so far?
Everytime I get together with the cast to work on the play I feel rejuvenated! My heart is so full of love I don’t know what to do with it all!
Is there anything we should look out for when watching the play, a detail or nuance we might not fully appreciate?
The people in Maine break stereotypes. They are not simpletons. They are not hicks or rednecks. They are not quaint, quirky eccentrics. They don’t have funny Maine accents. They are thoughtful, intelligent people who speak simply, honestly, truly and from the heart. (these are the John Cariani’s words)
These eight vignettes all take place at 9 pm on a Friday night in the small town of Almost, Maine. On any other night, these people would go along completing their everyday lives. Tonight, however, particles in the air collide and there is magic in the Northern Lights that dance above their heads. Tonight the people of Almost, Maine listen to the whispers of their heart and step into love… almost.
Almost, Maine runs from April 15-22, 2017 at The Cultch Vancity Culture Lab (1895 Venables Street). Tickets at http://www.thecultch.com/events/almost-maine.
Win 2 tickets for for opening night, Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella on Tuesday, April 11th. Post your answer below here on the OUTtv web-site. A winner will be randomly selected, notified and announced.
Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella was a musical that was written for TV in 1957. Who played the titled character?
I hope you get your WISH GRANTED!
David C Jones