Veronica @ 'Mary Page Marlowe' - "Don't tell me what to feel!"
What it's about.
A look back into the life of Mary Page Marlowe through a series of flashbacks, in which six actors depict her in different stages of her life.
Ever since Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again dropped its album, I have been listening non-stop. I especially favor Cher’s Fernando, because I mean hello?! Also, speaking of Cher and the iconic piece of pop culture that is Mamma Mia: can we just take a minute to appreciate this photo:
For those who may not be aware, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again is a prequel, in which Lily James plays a younger Donna (Aka Meryl Streep). Additionally, there are other character that also get their “younger selves” portrayed like my queen Tanya.
In the case of Mary Page Marlowe, the title character is portrayed at six different stages of her life. As an audience member, I thought this was really cool: that is, to see a person’s life mapped out before our very eyes, and get to experience the moments in that person’s life that made them who they are today. Like, have you ever wondered what E.T's up to these days?
And while Mary Page Marlowe’s life was "mapped out," it wasn’t exactly a clear road map - seeing as the play does not present itself in chronological order. However, if I were to use the “road map” as a metaphor for life, the map is never a simple one. It's supposed to be confusing, complex, and at times, may not make sense. In the case of Mary Page Marlowe, her life is given to us in fragments, and it is only at the end, that we are given all the pieces to put together for ourselves. The picture of her life.
Featuring Tatiana Maslany, Blair Brown (recently seen as Jeanette in The Parisian Woman), and Grace Gummer, Mary Page Marlowe is fierce, strong, powerful, vulnerable, heartbreaking, commanding, and fragile- and yes, that sentence is full of wonderful contradictions, but when you think about it, aren't we all? To reduce someone to a single adjective is B-O-R-I-N-G. Mary Page, on the other hand, is complex and electrifying. As is everyone, in their own way.
Of all the Mary Page moments, my number one has to be Mary Page unleashed. This is Mary Page losing control: It is a very tense, confrontational scene between 50 year old Mary Page and her husband. Apparently she's being "too emotional,"' in which case her hubby tries to "mansplain" all of her feelings and explain to her what she's feeling: even though SHE is the one who is experiencing the feelings, not him. So sis goes off on him:
"Don't tell me what to feel!"
I kid you not, her voice reverberated throughout the walls. It was such a powerful, raw moment, especially since Mary Page has been rather poised and put together up until this point. Yes, Sis! Loose control and tell him off *claps*
This production is directed by Lila Neugebauer, who recently directed Peace For Mary Frances- And the reason I bring her up is because of this one moment in the play where the staging legit gave me goosebumps. This would be towards the end, in which all the Mary Page's walk on stage (which is two levels btw) and stand in a frozen silhouetted image. These are all Mary Page: multiple versions, yet comprising the same entity, the same life: Mary Page Marlowe. TBH, Lila Neugebauer was serving visuals especially with this moment. It was gorgeous.
I have never experienced a show quite like this one. As I have mentioned earlier, movies like Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again offer a glimpse into other stages of a character's life. However, this play provided more than just a mere glimpse. Yet unlike Donna in Mamma Mia or E.T., Mary Page seems to live a very ordinary life in the midwest. A multiple divorcee with a drinking problem, who faces a personal tragedy. Why make a play about her? I suppose it's the same reason I can think of to make a play about anything really: that is, to have a deeper understanding of the human experience. And in this case, that is communicated through an in depth view of one woman's life. A woman with a really cool name and a story of her own: Mary Page Marlowe.
Tell us about your experience.
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