Mary’s Wedding, directed by Joel Sass and onstage now at the Jungle Theater, does not pretend to any aspiration greater than being a simple love story. However, as we have seen time and time again, in the right hands simple love stories can be tremendously moving. Mary’s Wedding is just such an instance, a clichéd story of a young girl and her beau gone to war made touching by actors Alayne Hopkins and Sam Bardwell.
It’s clear from the outset that scriptwriter Stephen Massicote’s young Charlie (Bardwell) won’t make it home from WWI and back into the arms of his love. Even knowing the outcome from the beginning does not make the audience any less empathetic towards his sweet Mary (an exuberantly British Alayne Hopkins). The real story isn’t as much in the plot as it is in the poetry of the characters’ words and movements. Hopkins and Bardwell make for convincing (if at times cloyingly earnest) young lovers, completely enveloped by their own passion for each other. Choreography by Carl Flink lends to the effect, making each character’s movement a graceful dance towards union.
|mary’s wedding, presented through october 25 at the jungle theater, 2951 lyndale ave. s., minneapolis. for tickets ($28-$36) and information, see jungletheater.com.|
Since during most of the play the two characters are on different continents (he fighting in the trenches of France, she dreaming at home in bed), the rules of time and space are cleverly bent to allow them to interact. Where Massicotte’s script notably fails is in trying to graft a “war is hell” theme onto the plot, leaning heavily on the Tennyson poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” When Bardwell continually cites the poem and expresses his desire to charge in as the ill-fated heroes of the poem do, Mary chides him: “That’s poetry, Charlie, not real life.” Charlie does in fact get his heroic charge in the end, and the fact that he comes away unscathed undermines the entire point.
Despite the uninspired plot, Mary’s Wedding is an evocative production that anyone who enjoys a good old-fashioned love story is likely to enjoy.
Jon Behm (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Minneapolis-based photographer and writer. While his specialty is music, Jon has a wide variety of interests that tend to take him all over the Twin Cities on a daily basis.
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