Feb 02

Fire Exit Theatre’s Marion Bridge is a nuanced exploration of sisterhood

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments

Families are complicated, and it’s the members of your family who can pull those strings of complication. They know exactly what to say and do to make you crazy. And when you do fight, you can regress to childish behaviour. Fire Exit Theatre’s production of Daniel McIver’s Marion Bridge depicts these complex relationships. When three sisters come together at home in Cape Breton to care for their dying mother, their beliefs about what their lives would look like and the hard truths they face in themselves, as well as in each other, comes to a head.

The play opens with Agnes (Krista Marushy) telling us about a dream she has where she is drowning. She sees a family, waves to them, and they wave back. It’s a bit of a beautiful nightmare that is a metaphor for her life. The scene then cuts to her coming to her home in Cape Breton where she is reunited with her sisters Theresa (Melissa Dorsey) and Louise (Joy Robinson). There are various things plaguing all of the women, not to mention the fact that their mother is dying. Agnes feels like her life isn’t what she wants it to be and that she messed it all up along the way. Theresa is struggling to find God in a world where she mostly see his absence and Louise has always been a little odd. Every family member has a different way of escaping their troubles, ranging from drinking to soap operas.

The set, designed by Victoria Krawchuk, is simple. A table and chairs in the middle of the stage, with a window frame and a door in the background. Kalyna Conrad’s lighting design shines through more window frames hung from the roof.

The cast is strong in embodying the varying emotions each character goes through. Marushy’s performance stands out, especially from the measured evenness of Dorsey’s Theresa. McIvor’s writing illustrates the role each woman plays in the family, a reflection of who is older and who is younger.

Fire Exit’s production of Marion Bridge is thoughtful and nuanced. It’s great to see a play on stage that depicts the complexity of the relationships that women have with each other, a play where their conversation doesn’t center on men.

Marion Bridge by Daniel McIver, a production by Fire Exit Theatre, runs until February 4. More information is available online.

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