A Marriage Contract
By Austin Daly Directed by Alex Roe
Originally: A Test Case
From the German of Blumenthal and Kadelburg
Review by Brenda Repland
This 19th century piece posits a possible solution to a widowed father losing his only daughter to marriage: make sure she can never be too far away.
Robert Fleming (Trevor St. John-Gilbert) is from New York City and proud of it. His fiancée, Sabina Pognip (Anna Stefanic) is from East Lemons, New Jersey. Herein lies the problem and the plot.
When the bride’s father withholds approval for the marriage pending a “marriage contract,” Robert will find himself forced into small-town life, the likes of which he has never known.
It will reach a boiling point when Dr. Columbus Tinkey (J. M. McDonough) confesses to him how his own life suffered from the same issue. “Sequestration in stagnation” is his diagnosis when Robert appears to be suffering from . . . something.
Those of us who choose to live in New York City (and love it) can definitely identify with the perils of having to endure the small minds so common in small communities. Gossip and judgment about everything; lack of privacy; resentment and distrust of anything coming from the “metropolis.”
Subplots include New York friends with their issues. Ned Jessamine (Nick Giedris) who seems baffled and disturbed by his very wily and cunning wife, Juno (Jennifer Reddish) who ignores his escapades only up to a point. Nathaniel Grinnell (Tyler Kent) who always comes a step too late.
Ms. Reddish is ideally cast as the wife who is every bit the match for her husband’s deceptions. Her timing is exquisite and fun to watch. Tyler Kent is the perfect clown with his clumsy attempts at love. J. M. McDonough provides a most realistic character with his fatherly advice about not repeating what happened to him.
Running through March 18.