Play: Mary’s Wedding
Group: Echo Theatre
Venue: Third Baptist Church, 620 North Grand Blvd.
Dates: April 10,11,12,13,17,18,19,20
Tickets: From $15 to $20; contact 1-800-838-3006 or www.echotheatrecompany.org
Story: Mary Chalmers is intrigued when she first meets Charlie Edwards near her home on a Canadian farm. The local farmboy convinces her to ride with him on his horse, and their gentle, shy courtship begins. It’s put to the test, though, when Charlie later informs Mary that he’s enlisted in the Canadian Cavalry Corps with hopes of joining English forces fighting the Germans on the European continent in the "Great War," now in its fourth year in 1918.
Charlie asks Mary to meet him one last time at their favorite rendezvous prior to his departure, as he has something important he wants to ask her. While the two of them enjoy reciting lines from Tennyson’s patriotic poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade, Mary has her own ideas about what Charlie should do and recounts them to her audience on the eve of her wedding in the summer of 1920.
Highlights: Inspired by the last cavalry charge in military history, Mary’s Wedding depicts the grim realities of war in soft and subtle ways that mask its horrors for long intervals, only to reveal them anew in poignant moments. The one-act drama by Stephen Massicotte moves freely backward and forward in time and between sepia-toned dream sequences and the harsher light of reality, but keeps its basic line of thought intact.
Magan Wiles and Ben Nordstrom work beautifully together, establishing a poetic rhythm to their characters and their romance that lingers like a morning mist over the play’s ephemeral setting. Highlighted by superior sound design wonderfully conceived and executed by Kelly Kerr, director Eric Little’s seamlessly paced production takes full advantage of his players’ talent and precise technical support by Kerr, lighting designer Dominique Gallo, costume designer Sarah Woodworth and set designer Tim Day, whose modest alignment of boards at judicious angles supplies all the physical support needed for this fanciful flight of imagination.
Mary’s Wedding is a lean but nutritious emotional feast for the senses and the soul, finely etched in Echo Theatre’s St. Louis premiere.
Rating: A 4.5 on a scale of 1-to-5.