Theatre New Brunswick‘s production of Daniel MacIvor’s Marion Bridge tells the story of three estranged sisters, Agnes (Kim Parkhill), Theresa (Michelle Polak), and Louise (Jackie Torrens), who are reunited when they return to Cape Breton to care for their mother on her deathbed.
Through both sharp dialogue and striking performances, the sisters establish an immersive family dynamic – laughing, crying, and bickering amongst each other in fluid succession, changing tone with just a single wrong word or fond memory as they struggle with issues ranging from religion to cheesy soap operas. At its core, the play is about the bond and struggles of family, and Marion Bridge captures the complexity of this relationship with an elegance that is hard to match, bringing the audience to both laughter and to tears.
While Marion Bridge‘s deep content is an excellent foundation, any script is only as good as the actors reading it. Fortunately, thanks to TNB’s solid casting, this is not an issue. Having roughly equal roles in terms of stage time and emotional range, all three actresses deliver excellant performances, both playing off of each other and delivering monologues directly addressing the audience.
With just the three actor cast and an unchanging, one-room set designed to draw full focus to the front and center, Marion Bridge draws strength from its minimalism, creating a sense of intimacy between the audience and the events on stage. This simple structure couples with a lack of any major hard breaks between scenes beyond changes in lighting and costume, creating a very organic feeling to the passage of time and making the entire play feel like one continuous experience and event. From even the subtlest aspects, it is clear how much thought and care has been put towards making Marion Bridge a stellar production.
Having spent a full month preparing for the play’s run, the actresses were full of enthusiasm for the coming show. “It’s about family and disfunction trying to find its way to function,” Torrens explained, adding “there’s something for everyone, I think everyone will see themselves or their family in all of these characters.” Polak as well praised the contributions of Artistic Director Thomas Morgan Jones and General Manager Susan Ready, calling them “visionaries, trying to do beautiful, artful theatre for New Brunswick.”
Marion Bridge will be showing at the Fredericton Playhouse April 2nd with performances at 2:00 and 7:30 PM. For more information, visit www.tnb.nb.ca