When you R.S.V.P. to MARY’S WEDDING at the Port Perry Town Hall, you will witness some very touching and moving performances by two other 3x60 aspiring actors in the Theatre Program at George Brown College.
Stephen Massicotte’s MARY’S WEDDING is appropriately billed as a memory play for a good reason. Recent English immigrant to Canada, Mary (a delicately and sweetly handled performance by Manon Ens-Lapointe) and Charlie, a young farmer (a boyishly likeable Duncan Gibson-Lockhart) have discovered the innocence and humour of first love. The year is 1914, the beginning of the Great War, and the world the two protagonists know begins to collapse around them. What makes this play intriguing is the fact it begins on the evening of Mary’s actual wedding. Through a series of memories and flashbacks, the audience is whisked away to the moment when Mary and Charlie first meet, their growing attraction, and his ultimate departure for the war.
Two-hander plays are dichotomic in nature – they are rewarding and challenging. The reward stems from the fact that an audience will only focus on two characters and not be concerned about other characters and their interconnections. The challenge stems from the fact that so much depends on the two individuals who must carry the script themselves to its conclusion. If there is no positive chemistry between the two actors, no connection, no heart then a two hander can most certainly fall flat quickly. Rest assured, this does not occur in 3x60’s production.
Director Carey Nicholson nicely weaves and paces a story that, although it may appear simple at first, is finely textured on many levels. Stephen Massicotte waxes eloquently through much of the dialogue, and both Ms. Ens-Lapointe and Mr. Gibson-Lockhart eagerly wrap their emotions around the poetic imagery artistically meshed within the script. They tenderly capture the budding feelings of young love convincingly that our hearts break as the war draws closer and begins to separate these young lovers. Again, 3x60’s set is minimalist, which allows us, as audience, to imagine the sights and the smells of the various locales established by Colin Hughes’ warm lighting. Sound effects effectively allow us to hear battle noises, which draw us out of romantic moments to the reality of the tensions of the present-day situation and surrounding.
I do not want to ruin the conclusion of the play as you must experience first hand how extremely heartrending it is. Both Ms. Ens-Lapointe and Mr. Gibson-Lockhart certainly reveal their highly promising potential as stage actors, as do Ms. MacRae and Mr. Williamson from 3x60’s most recent production of SALT WATER MOON last week. To conclude, emotionally charged plays for live performers can be daunting as they do not want to appear foolish in front of audiences. There are no histrionics at the end of MARY’S WEDDING. Theatre 3x60 is to be commended for providing future professional actors an opportunity to learn and to practice their craft with Canadian plays of identity and personhood.
MARY’S WEDDING continues performances at the Port Perry Town Hall 1873, 302 Queen Street on the following dates: July 18, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 at 8 pm with a matinee performance July 22 at 2 pm. Tickets may be purchased at the box office before each performance or visit Theatre3x60 website or the Townhall's website for further information. Directed by Carey Nicholson. With Manon Ens-Lapointe and Duncan Gibson-Lockhart.