Last week I went to my first stage reading called ‘Mary’s Wedding’ at the Surrey Arts Centre. If you’re unaware (as I was was ) what a stage reading is it’s a form of theatre without actual sets or full costumes. Also, the actors rely on their scripts rather than memorizing their lines. As it was explained to myself and my friend, most theatres don’t have the money, time or manpower to put on a ton of full blown productions every year. A staged reading allows theatre companies to still bring amazing stories to stage albeit in a stripped down version at a fraction of the cost.
Mary’s Wedding stars Julia Siedlanowski and Harrison Macdonald who play two young lovers named Mary and Charlie. The summary on the Peninsula Productions website describes the play best:
On the night before her wedding, Mary dreams of love, war, what was, and what could be. Her thoughts focus on her first love, Charlie, who she met by chance in a barn while seeking shelter from a prairie thunderstorm. An innocent romance develops, only to be thwarted by the turbulent times of 1914. Separated by war, Charlie sends letters from the front, and a story of love, loss and healing emerges in a beautiful and poetic theatre experience written by one of Canada’s leading playwrights, Stephen Massicotte.
I have to be honest when Siedlanowski and Harrison first took to the stage, I was taken aback. I didn’t expect the actors to be actually holding their scripts, for some reason I thought they would be placed off to the side and only used when needed. At first I was worried seeing people read off a script for an hour solid would be too big of a distraction and stop me from fully getting into the storyline. However, to the credit of the actors amazing performances, it didn’t take long to become fully immersed in the love story. It’s funny, in no time you literally go into tunnel vision where your imagination becomes as large as the performances actually happening in front of you. It’s up to you the audience, to imagine the scenes the actors are depicting, it’s almost scary and amazing where your mind will take if you let it.
Mary’s Wedding is truly a beautiful story of the power of young love and the terrors of war that at least for myself will have a tear or two running down the cheek.
I recommend at least everyone go to a stage reading once their life. Not only are tickets a lot cheaper than traditional plays, it will give your brain and emotions one heck of a workout!
- Vanessa xox