Monday, June 30, 2008

Mary's Wedding

Mom and I went to see a short play yesterday at the California Theater Center, Mary's Wedding. This wasn't a lavish production, but it was very moving. It had just two actors. But what a magnificent job they did!

The play is set on the eve of World War I in which a young woman recounts a dream, more like a nightmare at times, that involves two scenes that are beautifully interwoven: Mary and Charlie's early courtship in a barn safe at home and Charlie's harrowing experiences on the battlefield. Though the action jumps in time and place, "Mary's Wedding" was well-balanced in its alternating story lines of love and war. At times it was pure poetry.

The characters seemed so real. Mary was chaste and demure in a silky white dress that looked like a nightgown. But she displayed more mature qualities of intelligence, compassion and strength when she calmed Charlie's fears during the thunderstorms. Charlie was confident and daring on the battlefield, but sheepish and youthful when meeting Mary's mother over tea. They had many dimensions, some conflicting, like all of us.

The story was one that transcends time and place -- the agony of being separated from a loved one. And it was about regret over what might have been. You know it's a good play or movie when you were mesmerized during the performance and speechless when it was over.

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