Quotidian’s starting art giveaway in “The Day Emily Got Married”


The Quotidian Theater Company’s program art for The day Emily got married is suitable for so many levels. It depicts the character of Emily Davis carrying a suitcase, with her back to the camera, deliberately walking down a dusty road towards who knows where. Her life is that of a vagabond. In the opening scenes, Emily, beautifully played by Roxanne Fournier Stone, is a typical almost bride who makes life plans with her fiancé, Richard, and adapts to her family’s wishes. And what a family it is.

Emily (Roxanne Fournier Stone) with Lyd (Jane Squier Bruns) in “The Day Emily Got Married”. Photo by Steve LaRocque.

His mother Lyd (pronounced as lied) is played by the inimitable Jane Squier Bruns, and her father, Lee, is matched by the very good John Decker. The family dynamics of this well-meaning trio are turned upside down by Emily’s fiancé – her husband Richard, brilliantly played by Andrew Greenleaf, a decent guy (unlike her drunk first husband), who saves their darling Emily from a boarding school in Houston, takes care of her wishes and insists the couple move into the family home to help them. What could be better, right?

The Davis family is deep-rooted and financially solvent, barely, with just enough to float the monthly payments owed by a family-friend tenant farmer who can just pay interest. Once Richard, who has worked on oil rigs, steps in, he sees investment opportunities, if only he could get close enough to Pops Davis, work his way through financial records, and release some money to finance his business. He works hard and quit his own job to help his family, but – and there’s always a corn, how much did he envision the family’s meager assets to invest in his own business? The family grapple with Richard’s determination to fund his dream as Emily grapples with evidence of his fraudulent romantic interests lurking next door. True to form and yet again, Foote lifts the beautiful rocks of human experience and reveals the ugly mess that squirms below.

Lee (John Decker), Emily (Roxanne Fournier Stone) and Richard (Andrew Greenleaf) in “The Day Emily Got Married”. Photo by Steve LaRocque.

Proving that there are no small rooms, Elizabeth Darcy takes on the role of cousin Alma Nash, wearing lavish crinoline dresses and matching hats, consoling and comforting Emily with kind words and a listening ear. Star Bobatoon as the family housekeeper Addie is a strong presence to anchor the family, cares deeply for Lyd and takes her chores seriously with loving care. Laura Russell as family friend and sharecropper wife Alma Nash is a highlight of her anxious first entry when she tries to get the Davis’ attention and withdraws, only to return later, fiercely determined. to protect the well-being of his family during a confrontation. . The set is superb, and Jack Sbarbari leads with deliberation and great choices.

Foote has a way of exhibiting the human condition through the ever-changing memories and reflections of his characters. As in previous characters, Lyd’s memories fade as she passively-aggressively moves forward and reflects on her life, especially images and memories of the past. Bruns is good at capturing the essence of her aged characters in a captivating way. The way she moves, moves and wraps in her shawl, she appears to be a frail helpless wreck. But watch her get angry and pushed against the wall. I pity the fool who gets on his bad side because this cookie doesn’t crumble. In a pivotal scene, Richard stands menacingly, is boldly rude, even orders him to sit in his chair or return to his room. Dark-haired like Lyd has a straight spine, doesn’t flinch or give in an inch. It’s a commissioned performance between two stellar performers.

I’ve been a Bruns fan for years, having seen her in multiple performances, including The dead, Foote’s The journey to Bountiful, and a haunting solo piece, Coffin in Egypt. Play with her and others in Night seasons, I had the chance to see her up close and I was captivated by her approach to a sentence, a pause, a reflection. What she can do with a glance, a thoughtful look, a clap of her hands is a magnificent art – it’s old school that you don’t get much of a chance to anymore. be witness.

Lyd (Jane Squier Bruns), Alma (Elizabeth Darby) and Emily (Roxanne Fournier Stone) in “The Day Emily Got Married”. Photo by Steve LaRocque.

Sbarbori’s set design is loaded with nostalgia and well organized with a well-spaced bedroom to the right of the stage, a living room complete with plenty of chairs in the center of the stage, and a comfortable seating area to the left of the stage. The heirloom portraits on the walls were significant enough to be minor figures as Lyd held them to her chest, fearing they would be thrown or burned out of spite. The rear door leads to a fully functional gangway. At one point, the characters talk to each other framed by the window and door for a striking effect. Don Slater’s lighting design ominously darkens the mood as the characters go through their emotional passages.

Horton Foote’s plays have been described as “melancholy ruminations about life’s unbearable loneliness and complex relationships…”. The involvement of the metropolis in the first broadcast of this historical work is astonishing. In June 1997, The day Emily got married was first performed at Silver Spring Stage, 43 years after it was written. After Foote revised it, the play continued in New York with Estelle Parsons and Foote’s daughter, Hallie, as key performers. (A rare interview with her that Quotidian was able to organize can be viewed here. *)

Lee (John Decker) and Lyd (Jane Squier Bruns) in “The Day Emily Got Married”. Photo by Steve LaRocque.

The day Emily got married is a true artistic gift at work that drew many fans to their first in-person theatrical event in almost two years. I can attest that even with the reduced attention span and Zoom theater streaming that has become our norm, time has flown for over two and a half hours. It was so well done. I could easily have sat down longer.

Their last production before closing, this last example of the courage and courage of our Daily Treasure is a last opportunity to capture a truly remarkable work. Don’t miss it.

Duration: About 2 hours 40 minutes, including an intermission.

The day Emily got married by Horton Foote, performing at the bt Daily Theater, is playing August 6-29, 2021, inside the Writer’s Center at 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD. To purchase tickets, click on here.

* Saturday August 14, after the performance at 8 p.m. The day Emily got married There will be a special interview with Gerald C. Wood, a retired English teacher who is one of the world’s leading authorities on the playwright. Wood will show clips from his recent interview with Hallie Foote, the playwright’s daughter, who is an acclaimed actress and one of the world’s leading performers of her father’s work.

Playwright: Horton Foote
Director: Jack Sbarbori, acclaimed Horton Foote specialist.
Actors: Star Bobatoon Roxanne Fournier Stone, Jane Squier Bruns, Andrew Greenleaf, John Decker, Elizabeth Darby, Laura Russell
Scenography: Jack Sbarbari
Lighting designer: Don Slater
Light / sound technician: Matthew Datcher
Costume design: Stéphanie Mumford
Stage manager: Douglas Maryott
Master Carpenter: Andrew Greenleaf

For Quotidian’s farewell, a reminder of its world premiere Horton Foote report by Ravelle Brickman

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