Maritime humor to take center stage in Hudson Village Theater play

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The production of Marion Bridge at the Hudson Village Theater brings the spirit of the Maritimes to the kitchen table as three sisters grapple with the impending death of their mother.

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In the final days leading up to the opening night of the play Marion Bridge, actor Leni Parker was immersed in a dizzying whirlwind of life mimicking art and life-mimicking art.

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Parker is expected to star with Kathryn Kirkpatrick and Stefanie Buxton in Daniel MacIvor’s play about three sisters reunited in the family home in the Maritimes to care for their dying mother. It officially opens at the Hudson Village Theater on Thursday.

Parker’s own mother is struggling with health issues. She lost her father five years ago. And she’s originally from the Maritimes, which means she effortlessly identifies with the play’s particular use of humor.

“I grew up in New Brunswick,” Parker said Monday. “We joked our way through our miserable lives. The Maritimes use humor to get through tough times. “

The play is directed by Dean Fleming, HVT’s artistic director for professional theater. Parker has worked on various projects with Fleming over the years, including the 2007 HVT production of Neil Simon’s comedy Chapter Two.

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“He has a keen eye. He doesn’t miss a thing. ” she said. “And he understands how life and work can come together on occasion. We have had a great emotional roller coaster ride.

Family relationships can be complex at the best of times. Coming together under duress to care for a loved one in the last days can trigger deep emotions, especially if family members haven’t stayed particularly close over the years.

In Marion Bridge, the sisters each adopted unique behaviors to help them cope with past demons and present disappointments.

“It’s a play about vulnerability,” Parker said. “But my character doesn’t want anything to do with it. She stirs the pot. She is chaos.

Parker will play his older sister Agnes, an aging actress with a drinking problem who left her hometown for Toronto and rarely returned to visit her. Kirkpatrick is Theresa, a nun who took up farming because it is easier to work in the fields than to question her faith. Buxton is the stay-at-home sister – a misfit who escapes reality by obsessively watching television during the day.

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“These are expectations that we set for ourselves. What we wanted, but never got it, ”Parker said. “It’s about reaching the table and connecting. It’s raw, but it’s also hilarious.

During the intense rehearsal period, the cast shared life arrangements in Hudson. At the end of the working day, they inevitably gathered around the table in their temporary home. A fraternal bond has been forged. The next morning, they were heading to the theater to rehearse – which meant sitting around the kitchen table to play sisters who disagreed, but forced by circumstances to reconnect after years of living apart.

“These are three small islands, which do their own thing. Trying to keep your head above water, ”Parker said. “The pace is fast. You can’t lose your focus for a second. It’s great fun for people who haven’t experienced Maritime humor.

The play was nominated for a Governor General’s Award in 1999 and was made into a 2002 film, directed by Weibke von Carolsfeld.

The Hudson Village Theater, 28 Wharf Rd., Presents Marion Bridge, August 7-25. For more information and reservations, call 450-458-5361, email [email protected] or visit www.villagetheatre.ca.

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