‘Mary’s Wedding’: love across space and time | Review

It doesn’t matter what century you are in, there is nothing as magical as those first tremulous steps toward new love.

As the stars of “Mary’s Wedding,” Kelly Toombs and Cali Bagby embody that thrilling fragility of young romance in Robert Hall’s new production at Orcas Center’s Black Box. His understated, beautiful set combined with Jake Perrine’s sound and audio effects allow audience members to fully immerse themselves into an alternate world where Mary and Charlie navigate love against the backdrop of WWI.

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’ playRites Festival it has won several awards. “Mary’s Wedding” is an experience of blurred lines: between reality and dreams, between desire and duty, between the audience and the actors.

Bagby gives life to Mary’s earnest, yearning character but also bursts forth with startling passion and anger. Known on Orcas for her singing and comedic roles, Bagby tackles her first dramatic role with tenderness and gusto. Toombs is immensely likable as Charlie, and delivers a strong, comfortable performance. Bagby and Toombs move across the stage as though an invisible cord connects them. That kind of unity is required in a two-person play performed in a small, intimate space. Every gesture, touch and glance is thoughtful and measured as they move in tune with one another.

It’s clear that an immense amount of time and talent went into creating such a professional, tightly engineered, passionate production. “Mary’s Wedding” is not a play that you watch. It’s a play that you participate in with an open heart.

Upcoming shows

“Mary’s Wedding” will run Oct. 20 to 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Orcas Center’s Black Box. Tickets are $17 and $13 for students at www.orcascenter.org; $5 subsidized tickets are also available.