Robert Hall photo

‘Mary’s Wedding’ | A story of love and war

An incredible love story.

A beautifully written script.

Unlike anything Orcas Island has seen.

Those involved in the upcoming production of “Mary’s Wedding” are in agreement on the power of the play, which stars Cali Bagby and Kelly Toombs as two young lovers during WWI. Director Robert Hall wants audiences to see the play unfold without any preconceptions about the play’s contents.

“I want people to come in not knowing a lot about it – that’s part of the experience,” said Hall.

The play, by Canadian writer Stephen Massicotte, is relatively unknown to United States audiences, but since its debut in 2002 at the Alberta Theatre Projects’s playRites Festival it has won several awards. The minute Hall read the last page, he knew it had to be performed on the island.

“Mary’s Wedding” will run Oct. 13 to 15 and 20 to 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Orcas Center’s Black Box. Tickets are $17 and $13 for students; $5 subsidized tickets are also available. Hall designed the set and Jake Perrine is overseeing the sound.

Hall says doing a two-person play is challenging “all the way around.”

“The two people have to be just right. You can’t hide the truth in the Black Box. Both of the actors need to be present and honest and sincere,” he said.

In casting the roles, Hall knew the two actors needed to have chemistry and a strong connection.

“Cali and Kelly are two of the most talented actors on the island,” said Hall. “Cali’s forte is comedy and many times you’ll see a comedian do a really good job with drama.”

Bagby says Hall’s strong vision for the show is “exciting and inspiring.”

“He is also not afraid to explore new directions in search for the true heart of the play. I have learned so much from him,” she said. “Kelly is so open and dedicated and hardworking. His performance has made me want to work harder and be a better actor.”

Toombs agrees that the process has been challenging “in a good way.”

“It’s been an absolute privilege,” he said. “I have a director who makes me push myself. The effort he puts into his productions matches his demands of the actors. And to work opposite someone as talented as Cali – it doesn’t get better than that.”

Hall says the production of “Mary’s Wedding” has been the most fulfilling work he has done as a director because of the actors and the material.

“There haven’t been struggles or fights – it’s just come to life,” he said.