Review: SALT-WATER MOON is Pure Poetic Bliss

By: Feb. 26, 2016
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The next piece in Factory Theatre's Naked Season is an emotionally-driven and stunning production of SALT-WATER MOON by David French. Directed by Ravi Jain, the production features a diverse cast of Kawa Ada and Mayko Nguyen as post-war lovers in the villages of Newfoundland. Ania Soul serves as the narrator of the story stitched together with live music from the talented Toronto singer-songwriter. This delicate Canadian classic is re-imagined for new audiences and brings forward the best showing of Factory's naked vision yet.

The story is set in 1920s Newfoundland, young Jacob Mercer (Ada) just returned home from an abrupt departure to Toronto in an effort to win back his love, Mary Snow (Nguyen). Heartbroken from his abandonment, Mary is guarded but is unable to resist his boyish charm. Their interactions and conversations about love are naïve and childish in an innocent and hopeful way. Kawa Ada and Mayko Nguyen elevate these iconic roles with their maturity and presence, while still captivating the audience with their natural chemistry in their playful banter. The two command the stage throughout the 90-minute production, letting the work of French breathe through their movements.

SALT-WATER MOON has been produced countless times around the world for its impactful and dramatic narrative. This re-imagined production sheds a new light on this classic piece of theatre with its innovative and creative staging. The production features a vast, dark stage illuminated with candlelight. Mayko Nguyen slowly illuminates the stage at the beginning of the production, slowly drawing audiences in with her delicate and tender pacing as she lights each candle. She slowly creates a sea of candles; symbolic of both the ocean and the constellations in the sky. This element of combining the land and sky grounds the performance and creates a warmly poetic tone. Ada and Nguyen interact with the stage and weave in between the sea of light, it's strikingly beautiful.

Ravi Jain's direction is what elevates this production into one of Factory's best. His decision to introduce a third element, Ania Soul's musical talent added a raw intimacy right from her first note. Her narration of stage direction and descriptions from David French's work create tension on stage as the actors often veered from these actions. Something about Soul narrating that Jacob Mercer and Mary Snow turn to face each other, while on stage, Ada and Nguyen remain still is heartbreakingly profound and something that simply cannot be explained. It's full of joy and love; tension and loss. It's a perfect poem that you never want to end.

SALT-WATER MOON is presented as part of Factory Theatre's Naked Season. On stage until March 13, 2016. More information at

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