Apr 02

Mary’s Wedding full of heart

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments

Post image for Mary’s Wedding full of heart

There have been many stories about war. Many movies, many narratives that talk about the great war. Mary’s Wedding is a story that follows a couple, Mary (Meg Roe) and Charlie (Alessandro Juliani) and their blossoming romance. Except this is Mary’s dream, the night before her wedding.

The play opens to Mary describing her dream, how Charlie can’t see her while he stands under stormy skies with his horse. A flash of lightning cuts them in white outline. And from here we are launched into Mary’s dream, a narrative that blends past and present with poetry.
Mary and Charlie meet under a bridge, hiding from a thunderstorm. Charlie is afraid of the storm but with Mary’s help, he pushes through his fear by reciting poetry.

From this point, the narrative weaves the past and present together, exploring the blooming romance between Mary and Charlie and the Great War raging on the shores of France. The present intersects the past as Mary receives letters from Charlie who has already left to go to war. Charlie sees Mary everywhere he goes, he sees her in the people, in the wind, even in his friend Sergeant Flowers. On stage, Roe moves between smoking cigarettes as the rough Sergeant Flowers, to organizing a church tea as the sweet Mary, all the while in a nightdress.

Narda McCarroll’s set design is simple, allowing the audience to focus on the beautiful story unfolding on stage. The lighting design enhances the narrative, allowing the audience to see both peacefulness of Canada and the horror of the trenches. Matthew Waddell’s sound design allows scenes to shift smoothly from rain and thunder to bombs and bullets.

Mary’s Wedding features truly great performances. Roe holds her accents nicely, and fills her characters to the brim. Having last graced the stage of Alberta Theatre Projects in The Penelopiad, it is great to have her back playing the lovely Mary. Juliani is making his Calgary debut and audiences will be lucky to have him be on any stage across the city. He blends Charlie’s charm and earnestness seamlessly.

At first, when Charlie is hiding in fear of the thunder storm, the play borders on trite. But soon as it unfolds, it draws you in and blows through you. It has its comedic lines (I can swear! Bloody hell, bloody hell, bullocks!) and features interesting characters in a charming and sad narrative. There have been many stories about a couple going through the Great War, but none quite like this. Mary’s Wedding is moving and lovely, intense and sweet, and is full of heart. It’s no wonder this is the 10th anniversary of its production.

Photo Credit: Trudie Lee Photography

Mary’s Wedding runs at Alberta Theatre Projects until April 14th. Tickets are available online or at the door.

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