Play casts light on love, politics in 1926

The theatre is dark, with the exception of twinkling fairy lights hanging from the rafters imitating stars. To the sound of waves crashing against the shore, the stage is illuminated to reveal the ocean, a seaside home and a young girl gazing up at the constellations.
Currently playing at the Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre of the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, David French’s Salt Water Moon is an enchanting play set in Coley’s Point, Newfoundland in 1926.
Although the play only features two actors, the audience is captured by the wit and charisma of the characters and the skill of the performers.
Under the brilliant moon of August, 18-year-old Jacob Mercer, played by Allan Hawco, returns home from Toronto in an attempt to rekindle a relationship with his former sweetheart, Mary Snow, performed by Nicole Underhay. However, the feisty 17-year-old young woman, who has become engaged during his year long absence, is not easily courted, to say the least.
The context of Mary and Jacob’s argument is not revealed quickly. It takes a while before the audience learns why Jacob left for Toronto so abruptly a year before and why Mary is marrying school teacher Jerome MacKenzie, the son of wealthy politician.
Directed by Chris Abraham, Salt Water Moon is not simply a tale of young love, but it also delves into the political and social issues of 1926, when Newfoundland was not yet part of Canada. It’s moving andi t brings a sense and sensibility to our Canadian heritage, said the Saidye’s artistic director, Bryna Wasserman in a lecture last Sunday.
The chemistry on stage between Hawco and Underhay is exceptional. Capturing the experience and naivete of new love, these actors play their parts with grace and humour.
The combined talent and creativity of Lighting Designer Luc Prairie and Set Designer John Dinning creates a beautiful and romantic ambiance that makes the audience feel as though they were indeed sitting by the ocean in the moonlight.

Salt Water Moon written by David French runs until Dec. 9, 2001 at The Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, located at 5170 C™te-Ste-Catherine. Tickets prices range from $15 to $34 – students pay $15. For more information call the box office at (514) 739-7944.


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