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John Cariani meets with the cast of his play, 'Almost, Maine,' to answer questions and provide insight.

PMG PHOTO: KIVA HANSON - Playwright John Cariani met with students via zoom

The Madras High School drama students had a rare opportunity last week to meet with award-winning playwright John Cariani. Cariani, who is the writer of their fall production, "Almost, Maine," met with the students via zoom thanks to a donation from the Tower Theater in Bend.

The students were able to ask Cariani questions about their characters and discuss his inspiration for the play. Cariani, who grew up in rural Maine, sees the play as a more diverse depiction of people in rural America. The students asked him questions about character choice and gained insight into the driving forces behind each character's actions.

Students questions ranged from set advice and character choices directly about "Almost, Maine" to questions about Cariani's career and inspirations for the play which has seen large success over the 28 years since he wrote it.

"It is a very special and unique opportunity to meet with such an esteemed playwright," said one of the play's directors and MHS teacher Joseph Hill. "Getting to meet the playwright as they're fine-tunning the performance is really special as high school students."

"Almost, Maine" is a collection of stories about love. Falling into, out of and navigating it. It follows characters from rural Maine as their relationships change and grow in the backdrop of the Aurora Borealis.

The students will open the show Dec. 2 with performances Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the door and online at

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