Reviewed by Laraine Ball
Set in a village in Sudan, this rather short play highlights the challenge of adhering to old customs in a changing world. Mary is highly intelligent and looking forward to finishing her studies and getting a job however her father wishes her to marry the chief thus bringing wealth and esteem to the family.
The story was told in a series of short scenes some confrontational and others quite poignant all with slides to highlight the changing locations.
Directed by Tony Moore it has taken some time to get this story to the stage through many steps and changes it has been pared down to the essence of the message but might have benefited by the story being widened to include more than just one family.
Shannon Gray as Mary did an excellent job showing how she was torn between her desire to live her own life and obeying her father’s wishes.
Benoit Auberger as the father Baba Mary was a strong character but also showed traces of compassion for his daughter whilst never really swerving from his determination to marry her off.
Awit Kuac as the mother Mama Mary showed that she understood Mary’s position but found it difficult to go against her husband.
Cherian Philipose as Chief Akol did well showing himself to be a hypocrite of the first order on the one hand praising education and on the other demanding that Mary submit to marrying him.
In character Philpose started off a little too softly softly but his authority grew with each scene until we could really see the steel beneath.
Designed by Shannon Norfolk, the stage setting was simple but effective as were the costumes and Technician Nicholas Moore’s lighting and sound effects really added some good atmosphere.
Overall, this was a thought provoking and interesting production.