By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., Chicago Crusader
Inspired by the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, First Folio Theatre (Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st Street and Route 83) presents Mary’s Wedding, previewing March 28-30, opening March 31, and closing April 29, 2018. Written by Stephen Massicotte, Mary’s Wedding, a remarkable love story about survival and optimism during a tragic time in history, originally enjoyed a successful premiere at the 2002 playRites Festival at Alberta Theatre Projects. The production then went on to win the 2002 Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding New Play and the 2003 Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama.
Chicago native and current Rogers Park resident Debo Balogun has been cast as Charlie. A 2017 Augustana College graduate, Balogun has performed in Fair Maid of the West (Oak Park Festival Theatre), Bobby Pin Girls (Nothing Without a Company) and Moon Man Walk (Definition Theatre Company), among others. A dream play told from Mary’s memory, this epic love story begins when an unexpected relationship sparks between Mary and Charlie. As Mary continues to recount a recurring dream, we learn how the couple met, how they fell in love, and eventually how Charlie decided to join the Canadian horse brigade on the eve of World War I.
Through the course of the production, the audience is transported throughout Mary’s memory to an old barn, the streets of a small town, a stormy field, and the trenches of war. Attempting to hide their love from the world, Mary and Charlie are unaware of the physical and emotional battles to come, and as the world crumbles around them, the young couple finds themselves running away from it all.
Directed by Melanie Keller, Mary’s Wedding features Artistic Associate Heather Chrisler as Mary and Debo Balogun as Charlie. The artistic team includes Angela Weber Miller (Scenic Design), Michael McNamara (Lighting Design), Christopher Kriz (Sound Design), Rachel Lambert (Costume Design), Joseph E.M. Pindelski (Dramaturg), and Sophia Briones (Properties Design), with Colleen Layton as Stage Manager and Sarah West as Production Assistant.
All performances of Mary’s Wedding will take place at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, located at 1717 31st Street, off Route 83, in Oak Brook. First Folio is easily accessible from the East-West Tollway (I-88) or the Stevenson Expressway (I-55). Free parking is available on the grounds. Preview tickets are $25. Regular priced tickets are $34 Wednesdays and Thursdays (seniors and students are $29) and $44 on Fridays through Sundays (seniors and students are $39). Season subscriptions and individual tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at 630.986.8067 or online at www.firstfolio.org.