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Saturday, April 30, 2011
Review: Mary's Wedding
Wedding in Blue
like young love, the play is sweet and supple, but can be inconsistent and rough around the edges
by Sarah Deshaies
The origin of Mary’s Wedding lies in a romance that didn’t last. Playwright Stephen Massicotte first intended to write a play on war, but in a bid to both forget and cherish a lost lover, he scripted a story about remembrance and moving forward.
The Mary in question is wrapped in a dream the night before her wedding, recalling her romance with Charlie. The story cuts back and forth from the idyllic scenes of their courtship to his time in the trenches.
Mary is a young British immigrant in Canada and seeking refuge from a thunderstorm one night she meets Charlie, cowering in barn. She soothes his nerves over the barrage of thunder and lighting, foreshadowing his time under fire. Once the sky clears, the strapping young farmer, in a Canadiana fairy tale moment, debonairly pulls Mary up on his horse and brings her home.
I found myself just wanting to see the story for myself, and not be told about it.
Their relationship grows, but as in any story about war, Charlie (Dustin Ruck) heads overseas, writing to Mary (recent Dome theatre grad Allison Busner) from the trenches of World War I.
A story about young love is appropriate for Persephone Productions. The organization, now in its 11th year, focuses on providing opportunities for young theatre professionals. But kind of like young love, the play is sweet and supple, but can be inconsistent and rough around the edges. At times, the moments between Ruck and Busner are genuinely captivating, like when they are astride his horse or flirting at a tea party. At other moments, it feels like we’re just going through the paces of a young romance torn asunder by war. The beginning felt wooden, but Ruck and Busner end the play poignantly and masterfully.
...you need to both cherish and forget the moments spent together...
Massicotte’s play, which won the 2000 Alberta Playwriting Competition and premiered in 2002, has Mary recounting details of moments with Charlie to the audience, as it’s her dream you’re experiencing. But at times I found myself just wanting to see the story for myself, and not be told about it.
Director Gabrielle Soskin’s design team had to portray both battle and romance scenes. Gordon Neil Allen’s soundscapes and Lorne Reitzenstein’s lighting effectively captured the bombs and ratatats of bleak trench warfare and both the sunny and stormy moments back home. Ariel Loraine’s set is simple, leaving space for the actors to work, but the barn needed to dial down the folksy leaves and hay.
The play’s roots are in a failed affair, but Mary’s Wedding is a lesson that in order to turn the page on a romance, you need to both cherish and forget the moments spent together.
Mary’s Wedding runs at the Conservatoir de musique et d’art dramatique, 4570 Henri-Julien until May 7. Tickets are $25, $12 for students. The show runs for 1h30, with no intermission. For more info, check out at the Persephone site.
Read Barbara Ford on Gabrielle Soskin here.
Read Gabrielle Soskin's first-person piece on Mary's Wedding here.