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BWW Review: MARY'S WEDDING at American Players Theater

This is your spoiler alert. There are reveals within this review. I attended this show the second to the last night of the run, alas, this is the best show that you will never see, for that I am truly sorry.

Theater should have an effect on the audience, and this show does exactly that. We are told in the beginning by Charlie (Nate Burger) that tomorrow is Mary's Wedding, tonight is a dream.

Through the haze Mary (Laura Rook) enters the setting of an old barn. There is Charlie in the background with his horse. Mary speaks of the dream describing the scenes as they unfold, all the while being part of the dream itself. She guides us masterfully through a thunderstorm so realistic (Thanks to Light Designer Jason Fassl and Sound Designer Sarah Pickett) that as she describes them getting wet I can see it in my minds eyes. During the storm, we see Charlies fear, his vulnerability. He says something that Mary notes he has said before, but she cannot ever hear what it is. Once entrenched deeply into the dream, Mary all but stops her narration, instead allowing the dream to naturally flow by interacting with the elements of the dream itself. This is masterfully done as Charlie takes Mary home on his beloved horse. The fear and joy in Mary's eyes and smile where infectious as the audience joined in her gales of laughter and glee.

The dialog is quick, clever and funny. In dreamlike surrealism, we watch the flirtatiousness of young love. Both Mary and Charlie initially come off as awkward 14 or 15-year old's coming into their own emotional maturity.

We watch as Charlie joins the Canadian Calvary and heads off to war, being a good citizen knowing that "Everyone must do their share". The use of props to move fluidly from one concept to another under the directorial genius of Brenda Devita works so well that we find ourselves fully engaged with the two actors on stage.

The scene changes are seamless. Charlie loading sandbags around his trench in England as Sergeant Flowers (Also played by Laura Rook) barks orders, the two circle each other and are transformed back to The Farm in Canada. Now it is Mary the worldly Englander, inviting Charlie the dirty Canadian farm boy, to tea as he loads bags of feed for his horse. He reluctantly accepts stating that he has never been to a tea.

Charlie, good to his word, does attend the tea. The awkwardness is palpable. One of the most touching lines in the play happens during this angst, in which Charlie states, "I didn't bring you a present". To which Mary responds simply, "Yes, you did."

The two storylines arc brilliantly together. We watch the crescendo of the war raise in time with the growing feelings of these two-young people.

Charlie wants his "Charge" moment in war as much he wants his moment totell Mary how he feels. He invites her to his barn the night before he ships off stating that he has something he wants to ask her, the dream moves back to the war, Charlie is yelling "Charge" as he rides forward in the saddle, there are explosions, Charlie is thrown, we are back at the barn, Mary is crying and telling Charlie how sorry she is that she never came that night, and how now it is too late. She tells him of his death, and is far more affected by this than Charlie. He knows that she will be alright. She is getting married tomorrow to a kind deserving man. She will be happy. In time, he will fade.

As the dream diminishes and the play comes to an end, Charlie slowly fades into the background, and almost as an afterthought, he re-appears asking, "Do you want to know what I always say to you Mary, that thing you can't understand? Wake up Mary...Wake up"

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From This Author Scott Rawson