The images of people clinging to the outside of planes taking off from Kabul airport and other desperate measures taken by Afghans to leave their homeland remind us of the harsh realities of war. So too does the play Mary’s Wedding address the human cost of conflict yet it also frames it amidst the joy of first love during World War I.
Presented August 27 through September 19 by the Kansas City Rep, Stephen Massicotte’s Mary’s Wedding employs one set, two actors, and no intermission to weave the story of mismatched love and duty during what was to have been the “War to end all wars.” It is also presented on the grounds of the National World War I Museum allowing, in a way, for the nation’s only monument to the war to serve as the backdrop.
Directed by Stuart Carden, the play opens in 1914 with a chance meeting of two people seeking refuge in a barn from a raging thunderstorm. Mary is English and newly arrived in Canada. As their feelings deepen, Mary’s class conscience mother frowns upon the relationship between farmboy Charlie and her daughter. We soon see that serving his country becomes the greatest obstacle in cementing their love.
Sam Cordes as Charlie, skillfully strikes the difficult balance of bravery and vulnerability. Bri Woods shines in the role of Mary, an educated, empathetic, and independent woman. She additionally portrays Flowers, Charlie’s squadron commander. We learn through Flowers that leaders in war also have a heart.
Massicotte skillfully uses dreams to weave together scenes of tea parties and war in the trenches. The minimal set and excellent sound effects allow patrons to travel through time and places with the actors.
The outside performance is most impactful with the looming World War I monument in the background for this production. The monument reinforces the devastating loss and pain endured by the warriors and those who love the warrior.
The play is recommended for those 12 and up due to themes, language and war sounds.
During this time when we are dealing with the consequences of the chaotic departure of troops from Afghanistan, shattered dreams for those left behind and the grief over additional casualties, Mary’s Wedding reminds us of a central truth. Time heals and it’s often made possible by the wonder of being in love.
For tickets visit the KC Rep HERE.
–Anita Widaman | Metro Voice