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BWW Review: MARY'S WEDDING at First Folio Theatre

BWW Review: MARY'S WEDDING at First Folio Theatre

MARY'S WEDDING is not a typical war play. In this two-hander love story set during the First World War, the action is framed as a recurring dream and offers all the possibilities of a dream world: non-linear timelines, sudden shifts in setting, and the opportunity for characters to relive events not as they actually occurred, but in an idealized version.

Heather Chrisler and Debo Balogun give moving performances as Mary and Charlie, a young couple who fall in love on the eve of World War I and are separated when Charlie leaves for the Western Front. This script could easily flounder in the hands of less engaging actors than Chrisler and Balogun. Many scenes rely on the imaginations of the audience as the characters verbally describe events - often through beautifully poetic language - rather than literally depicting them onstage. Chrisler and Balogun's delivery of such monologues are some of the most memorable scenes of the production.

The lighting design by Michael McNamara enhances the dream-like nature of the play, while Christopher Kriz's sound design propels the story through the imaginative shifts demanded of the audience. The set never changes from the barn in which Mary and Charlie first meet, but the action moves across varying scenes including an exhilarating horse ride through the Canadian countryside, a bustling harbor full of departing soldiers, and terrifying scenes in the trenches of France. Under the direction of Melanie Keller, these sudden twists and turns are skillfully executed.

The overall effect of MARY'S WEDDING is similar to the stage version of War Horse, minus the puppetry - a tale of war told on the intimate scale of ordinary lives, addressing timeless themes of love and loss, and presented in a unique format that rewards the imagination of the viewer.

MARY'S WEDDING runs through April 29 at First Folio Theatre, 1717 W. 31st Street, Oak Brook, IL 60523. Tickets are available at

Photo credit: Tom McGrath

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From This Author Emily McClanathan

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