At 'Mary's Wedding,' everyone gets along

By Penny Rathbun, Staff Writer

Matt Savins as Charlie and Julie Reinagel as Mary look to the future in Rover Dramawerks' production of "Mary's Wedding"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

For those who have been invited to "Mary's Wedding," the best thing to do would be to RSVP and attend.

Rover Dramawerks' production of the Stephen Massicotte play is a beautiful theatrical poem. This gem of a show refracts shards of thought differently no matter how it is held up to the light and examined.

Both cast members are excellent tour guides for this emotional journey set in Canada during the years before and after World War I.

Matt Savins as Charlie and Julie Reinagel as Mary are the perfect young couple. We get to watch them fall in love, get engaged, and generally cope with life in rural Canada during the first decade of the last century.

Savins' portrayal of Charlie is very entertaining on its own without any of the the other parts of the production, As the beautiful young man falling in love with a girl above his station his awkwardness, especially at a tea party, is painful and funny to watch.

Suffering with him when he has to go off to the war front and is forced to kill another human being impossible to avoid because Savins' acting is so good it is invisible. The audience is free to take the journey with him without having to worry about what he is doing on stage.

Reinagel as a transplanted English girl is the perfect match for Charlie. She is all that plus a bag of chips. It's easy to picture her and Charlie making a life together. As Mary, she uses all the wiles a proper British girl is allowed in 1914.

Her total delight in having Charlie as a suitor is one of the most fun things in the show. It's no mystery why Charlie does things just to hear her laugh.

Reinagel's English accent is flawless. That adds to her acting being invisible as well. Her task on stage involves also playing a military man on the battlefront. She makes these transitions back and forth between the two characters with such ease it seems perfectly logical that Mary in her old-fashioned nightie occasionally becomes Flowers, the man Charlie reports to in the army.

Savins and Reinagel together are and artistic powerhouse. The play is well served by their performance.

Director Lisa Devine has shaped their performance so that the myriad nuances in the script are there should an audience member choose to look at them or pay no attention to them. It would be missing a lot to not consider as many nuances as possible.

The small set, designed by Clint Alan Ray, enhances the audience ability to imagine whatever it is supposed to be at any particular moment. The swinging gates get a bit tedious but at least the actors don't have trouble moving themor climbing around them.

The lighting design by Dawn Wittke King is what it needs to be to bring this stage poem to life. It literally does light the way for the audience during many moments of the play.

The audience at the July 19 performance of Mary's "Wedding" will get a bonus. Rover Dramawerks has brought in the playwright Stephen Massicotte who will discuss the play with the audience after the matinée performance. There will also be a reception for him following the 8 p.m. July 19 performance.

Artist Duncan Larkin will also participate in these event. His drawings of World War I scenes inspired Devines vision of the play. His work in on display and for sale in the Cox Building Lobby.

"Mary's Wedding" runs through Aug. 2 at the Cox Building in Plano. Tickets for veterans and their spouses are available for $10 for any performance.