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Shaw play explores marriage

Matt Carlin as Gen. Boxer Bridgenorth, Jason Purdie as Reginald Bridgenorth, Shelby Pinney as Leo Bridgenorth and Cort Kirksey as Sinjon Hotchkiss star in "Getting Married, a look at the pros and cons of matrimony.
Matt Carlin as Gen. Boxer Bridgenorth, Jason Purdie as Reginald Bridgenorth, Shelby Pinney as Leo Bridgenorth and Cort Kirksey as Sinjon Hotchkiss star in "Getting Married, a look at the pros and cons of matrimony.
Mark A. Philbrick, ByYU

GETTING MARRIED; Brigham Young University, drama and theater department; through Nov. 12; running time 2 hours 15 minutes with one intermission.

PROVO — This stuffy, sometimes humorous, often heady, play by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw examines the state of matrimony, its blisters and bliss in 1908 England.

Directed by Barta Lee Heiner, this show reveals that not much has changed in the past century. Men and women still must choose whether they will have mutual respect for one another, a co-dependent relationship, or both.

It also examines what happens when spouses are socially and intellectually stimulating or just plain boring.

Set in the parlor of Bishop and Mrs. Bridgenorthon the wedding day of their daughter Edith (played by Katie Pulsipher), the play digs into the problems and joys of the characters.

That includes Bishop Bridgenorth's (played by Forest Foster) devotion toward his wife. It addresses the unrest that ended the marriage of Leo Bridgenorth (played by Shelbey Pinney) and Reginald Bridgenorth (played by Jason R. Purdie). In the middle of that relationship is Sinjon Hotchkiss (played by Cort Kirksey). Leo would like to remarry her former husband and yet marry Hotchkiss.

Kirksey gives a standout performance as the flamboyant and outspoken Hotchkiss who goes against convention.

Finally, the story explores the frustration of Gen. Boxer Bridgenorth (played Matthew R. Carlin) with rejection by Lesbia Grantham (played by Kelly Garrison).

The relationship between the merchant and alderman William Collins (played by Cade Krueger) and his wife and Zenobia, Alexandria George (played by Kristen Sansom), and her mayor-husband is also examined.

The pros and cons of each marriage lead the group to attempt to create a marriage contract when Edith and her intended hesitate about the responsibilities and drawbacks to marriage. Father Oliver Cromwell Soames (played by Benjamin Scott Smith), who opposes marriage, acts as their scribe.

In the Oct. 26 preview the actors flowed through their lines with only a few stumbles. Although the audience was warned that the performance was a dress rehearsal and could be stopped, that was unnecessary. The British accents came through with only occasional lapses.

The period costuming was striking and the set realistic, although the stone walls of the parlor were more like exterior walls from another play. Makeup failed to distinguish age differences, leading to some confusion while the characters were being established, and Krueger's false beard was a bit of a distraction.

All in all, the play is an enjoyable and engaging one, at home on a college stage.

If you go, dress in layers. The Margetts Theater, with seating on two sides of the stage in the lower basement of the Harris Fine Arts Building gets a bit warm toward the end of the performance.


E-mail: rodger@desnews.com