Tag Archives: Tracy Letts

Mary Page Marlowe at Second Stage Theatre

16 Jul

Sometimes a play comes along that just gets you – it hits something deep inside you and you cannot help but be swept away.

Tracy Letts’ play “Mary Page Marlowe” does that to me. It tells the story of an (extra)ordinary woman. Mary Page is no one special – she ist just a woman living her life with all its ups and downs. We see her carefree and full of dreams in her college years. We see her going through hard times later on in her life. We see loss, grief, anger, joy, hope and all the little things in between.

MARY PAGE MARLOWE By TRACY LETTS Directed by LILA NEUGEBAUER With DAVID AARON BAKER, BLAIR BROWN, KAYLI CARTER, AUDREY CORSA, MARCIA DeBONIS, NICK DILLENBURG, RYAN FOUST, TESS FRAZER, EMMA GEER, GRACE GUMMER, MIA SINCLAIR JENNESS, BRIAN KERWIN, TATIANA

Played by six different actresses at ten stages of her life Mary Page finds her way into our hearts. She is not perfect. She fails more than once. She makes mistakes.

We first see her at age 40 – she is separating from her husband and relocating from Dayton, Ohio to Lexington, Kentucky. Her daughter Wendy is not pleased, her son Louis seems less bothered. And Mary Page is stressed out.

Set in non-chronological order the play highlights 11 scenes of Mary Page’s life. It is like flipping through a photo album, going back and forth and catching brief sights of past events. At age 19 she has her tarot cards read by her college roommate. One card tells her that she is in charge of her own destiny. “It’s up to decide what you want to do.”

MARY PAGE MARLOWE By TRACY LETTS Directed by LILA NEUGEBAUER With DAVID AARON BAKER, BLAIR BROWN, KAYLI CARTER, AUDREY CORSA, MARCIA DeBONIS, NICK DILLENBURG, RYAN FOUST, TESS FRAZER, EMMA GEER, GRACE GUMMER, MIA SINCLAIR JENNESS, BRIAN KERWIN, TATIANA

Every scene tells us something about Mary Page and her life. But we hardly ever get the full picture. She was addicted to alcohol at one point – why and how that happened we can only guess. She had affairs, she may have had an abortion, something happened to her son Louis when he was 16 years old – maybe that is what spurred her drinking problem. Or maybe the drinking simply lays in the family. In one scene Mary Page is 10 months old and her hard-drinking father, who has returned from the war not long ago, sings her a saloon song after a harsh argument with her mother.

The structure is integral to the play. It is up to the audience to fill in the blanks and connect what is being revealed. And this is exactly what makes this play so remarkable. Life is not linear. Things happen and we might not know how important they are until we re-live them in our head later on. There are things we remember and things we decide to forget. Things that matter and things that do not. And it sometimes takes a lifetime to realise it.

MARY PAGE MARLOWE By TRACY LETTS Directed by LILA NEUGEBAUER With DAVID AARON BAKER, BLAIR BROWN, KAYLI CARTER, AUDREY CORSA, MARCIA DeBONIS, NICK DILLENBURG, RYAN FOUST, TESS FRAZER, EMMA GEER, GRACE GUMMER, MIA SINCLAIR JENNESS, BRIAN KERWIN, TATIANA

This beautiful play is performed by a stellar cast of actresses and actors. Standing out are Tatiana Maslany as Mary Page age 27 and 36, Susan Pourfar as Mary Page age 40 and 44, Blair Brown as Mary Page age 59, 63 and 69 and Nick Dillenburg as Mary Page’s father Ed (played with incredible sensitivity and detail).

In the end Mary Page lives her life just like all of us. She struggles, she falls, she gets up again and goes on.

In the last scene we see her at age 63 at the dry cleaners in Lexington. Her last words are as simple as they are meaningful. When asked if she needs help (carrying things to her car) she responds “No. I got it.”

Mary Page Marlowe is playing at Second Stage Theatre until August 19th. For more info and tickets visit https://2st.com/shows/current-production/mary-page-marlowe.

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