Tag: preview

Preview: ‘Mary’s Wedding’ promises sweeping, heartfelt drama set against the backdrop of First World War (The Haldimand Press)

By Mike Renzella | The Haldimand Press

June 27, 2024

PORT DOVER—While Lighthouse’s second show of the season, Murder at Ackerton Manor, continues its run in Port Dover as its first show, Doris and Ivy in the Home, wraps up its run in Port Colborne, the theatre’s behind-the-scenes creative team is already busy preparing for this season’s third show, the epic World War I drama Mary’s Wedding.

Lighthouse’s Artistic Director Derek Ritschel is pulling double duty as the show’s director, bringing forward the company’s first and only dramatic entry of the 2024 season.

Mary’s Wedding Director Derek Ritschel

“I was lucky enough to be an actor in its first go-around through the Canadian theatres back in 2004. I fell in love with the play then,” said Ritschel of Mary’s Wedding.

“It’s the kind of storytelling I think is beautiful.”

While Ritschel played one of the show’s two lead characters back in the day, he doesn’t recall a lot from the experience, instead noting, “I’m surprised at how much of this play I’m discovering rather than remembering. It’s more like it’s a new play to me than something I’ve done and have a background in.”

This iteration of the show stars Daniel Reale as Charlie and Evelyn Wiebe as Mary.

“I think the audience will leave thinking about a few things,” said Reale. “The absolutely stunning poetry and writing in the piece, the impacts of the First World War, the social constructs of the early 20th century – but mostly I hope they leave thinking about all those incredible sensations that come with first love…. I love this show for giving me the opportunity to live in that world.”

Wiebe added of her character, “She feels everything so deeply and that’s just the most satisfying thing as an actor. To hear a woman in the 1900s being bold. A lot of folks tend to dismiss a woman falling in love as ‘typical,’ or trope-like. Mary is so much more than that. She’s just a beast of a woman. It’s just the most fun to play.”

Ritschel said the heart of the story amounts to a collision of innocent young love and world-changing devastation.

“Young love can feel like it’s the biggest thing on the planet. It’s the most moving, it’s the biggest thing you’re going to experience in your life. In this place, it is interrupted by a world war,” he explained. “It has all these sweeping themes of love, but also the absolute devastation and horror of war as a major character. It’s not even a backdrop in this show, that’s kind of what I dig about it. It is such a prevalent presence in their lives.”

The show is an outlier in Lighthouse’s season, which is typically focused on bringing big laughs to attendees.

“Once every two or three years Lighthouse will do a play that is more dramatic than it is comedic,” said Ritschel. “The comedy is great, and that’s what the majority of people want and we’re happy to deliver it because people love it, but every now and then we throw one of these in there so people can get a different flavour, a little taste of something different.”

The audience will be taken on a journey through Mary’s memories, with events unfolding both before and after the war over the course of the time-hopping show.

The Cast and Creative Team of Mary’s Wedding.

“It’s one of those plays that pushes the capabilities of Lighthouse. It really utilizes the light and sound and set design, and the creativity of staging a play,” said Ritschel. “That’s what I love.”

Matching the show’s sweeping themes of love and loss, Lighthouse’s technical team has been hard at work utilizing every resource at their availability to ensure the show is one to remember.

“A play like Mary’s Wedding has a lot of ambiance. It’s fun for those of us at the theatre to play with what she’s technically capable of,” said Ritschel.

The play will run at Lighthouse’s Port Dover theatre from July 3-20 and at Port Colborne’s Roselawn Theatre from July 24-August 4.

For more information on the show, and to purchase tickets, visit lighthousetheatre.com/event/marys-wedding or call the box office at 1-888-779-7703.

After studying journalism at Humber College, Mike Renzella desired to write professionally but found himself working in technical fields for many years. Beginning in 2019 as a freelancer, he joined the team full-time later that year. Since then, Mike has won several awards for his articles thanks to his commitment to presenting an unbiased, honest look at the important news and events shaping our community.