Jun 26, 2006 — Mary's Wedding has opened the season in the Firehall Theatre at the 1000 Islands Playhouse in Gananoque, and runs through July 22. Resident theatre critic Connie Meng was at the opening night and has this review.
MARY'S WEDDING, the award-winning play by Calgary playwright Stephen Massicotte, is the story of a young woman, a young man and the war that separates them. This beautifully poetic play is in the form of Mary's dream the night before her wedding in 1920. It shifts back and forth from the prairies of western Canada and the trenches of Normandy, between past and present, between dream and reality.
We see Mary's budding romance with Charlie, a shy farm boy who dreams of cavalry charges, little knowing the cavalry is destined to charge a battery of machine guns and artillery. Through his letters home we see the reality of war and meet his battlefield friend, Sergeant Flowers. Mary's dream allows her to come to terms with the past and to awaken the morning of her wedding ready to accept the future.
Jessica Greenberg's performance as Mary is strong. She does a subtle job of letting us see the character's vulnerability. In the dream Miss Greenberg also plays Sergeant Flowers. This allows Mary's understanding of Charlie to become even more apparent.
Mark Crawford is wonderful as Charlie. His letter telling of a troop review is especially touching. The youthful naiveté of his line, "The King looked right at me!" is heartbreaking. These actors work well together and the relationship is played with both sensitivity and humor.
The production is simple and spare, with subtle and effective sound designed by Adair Redish. Dan Ryder's projections and lighting are very good, as are Jayne Christopher's costumes.
Director Greg Wanless has wisely kept the set to a minimum, using only projections of trees on the surrounding curtains to suggest changes in location. In the intimate playing space of the Firehall we almost become a part of the action. Nothing extraneous comes between the audience and the play. Mr. Wanless has done an excellent job of mounting this delicate piece.
Stephen Massicotte has written a beautiful play with both poetic shape and substance. Although it is an anti-war play in a sense, he never proselytizes and sticks to the love story. As he said, "I set out to write a play about the First World War and politics, but the love story began to take over more and more."
MARY'S WEDDING continues the tradition of quality I've already come to expect of the Firehall, even though it's just their third season. This time there's an added bonus. At all the exits the management has provided Kleenex. Believe me, you'll need it!
On a scale of one to five the Firehall/1000 Island's Playhouse production of MARY'S WEDDING gets four and three-fourths dalmations. For North Country Public Radio I'm Connie Meng.