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Romantic play opens on the day of love
By Nie Xin

On Valentine’s Day tomorrow, Shanghai’s longest-running English-language amateur theater troupe, East West Theatre, will present a romantic comedy, “Almost, Maine.”

Nine entanglements of the heart will merge in this romantic comedy of love and loss. A search for love unfolds under the magic of the Northern Lights on one cold February night.

“Almost, Maine,” written by American actor and playwright John Cariani, premiered off-Broadway in 2004. The play is about people who are normally very grounded, but who have become excited by love and other extraordinary occurrences.

In nine interrelated vignettes, set simultaneously on one night, audiences are presented with both the joys and the perils of romance.

Rather than a real town, Almost, Maine is a mythical composite of several northern Maine towns. Were it to exist, Almost, would be found in the heart of Aroostook County, the sparsely populated, northernmost county in Maine.

The people of Almost are ordinary people — they work hard. They are dignified, honest and true. They are not glib, but they are also not stupid.

They just take their time to wonder about things.

The plot of each scene in the play climaxes with a magical moment, happening simultaneously, as the clock strikes 9pm, under an appearance of the Northern Lights.

East West Theatre has produced 21 critically acclaimed shows since 2006 ranging from family favorites like “A Christmas Carol” to Shakespearean classics such as “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” to contemporary classics such as “The Memory of Water” by Shelagh Stephenson, and even including original writing like “Exit 2nd Banana” by David Foote and Ross MacLeod.

A Valentine’s Day special is offered. Get two tickets for just 200 yuan on Valentine's Day opening night as part of a special offer available to the first 30 patrons who e-mail to east.west.info@gmail.com with “Almost, Maine for Valentine’s Day” in the subject line.

The theater also will offer two free tickets for any night to a lucky reader of Shanghai Daily. They can e-mail to east.west.info@gmail.com with the title “Jeezum Crow” to be in the running for a pair of tickets.

Date: February 14-16, 20-23, 8pm

Venue: Strictly Designers United, Bldg A, 55 Fuxing Rd E.

Tickets: 150 yuan (presale), 180 yuan (at door)

For reservations and further information, contact East West Theatre at east.west.info@gmail.com, call 1820-2164-553, or visit www.eastwesttheatre.com.

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