Bridging the gap

Marion Bridge, a tale of three sisters coming together to care for their sick mother, debuts at the Cannery Stage on Nov. 13.

The story of three very different sisters returning home to care for their ailing mother is coming to the Cannery Stage on Nov. 13.

Many Hats Theatre Company will be performing the Maritime drama Marion Bridge by Dan MacIvor from Nov. 13 to Dec.6.

Marion Bridge takes place in present-day Cape Breton Island, N.S, and revolves around three estranged sisters brought together after leading immensely different lives.

The newest addition to the Many Hats’ acting troupe, Jordana Fratianni, plays Louise, the youngest sibling who never left home.

She has acted in community theatre before, but this has been a more formal process Fratianni said.

“It’s been a great learning experience,” Fratianni said. “I’ve learned a lot from (director) Jane and from the other actors.”

Louise and her siblings are all contrasting characters, but each role brings with it a depth of possibility said Fratianni.

“They are dynamic roles. There’s different things you can go and run with any of the different characters and their personalities. There is a lot of sisterly love and hate and that definitely comes through,” Fratianni laughed.

Christa Phillips plays Theresa, the sister who has moved away to become a nun in New Brunswick. Phillips enjoyed working with the words of Canadian Playwright Daniel MacIvor, and felt a touch of patriotism as well.

“What’s really cool is that it’s a Canadian play. There is always a little bit of pride in your heart as a Canadian actor when you do a play from one of our own,” Phillips said.

Both Phillips and Fratianni agreed that the script jumped easily off the page.

“It’s very real dialogue. To me, people do speak like this. It’s how we talk to each other. We kind of step on each other a little bit when we talk and we don’t always listen very well and the words are true,” Phillips said.

Marion Bridge is being headed by director Jane Pilkey, who enjoyed working with the rich dialogue as the actors did.

“We had lots of fun trying to figure out where each character is in their own mind and the tension that is caused between the sisters and how it’s overcome,” Pilkey said.

MacIvor’s much-lauded writing made it easy to understand who the characters are and where they were coming from, said Pilkey. The actors have excelled in the dialogue-driven, intimate setting of a Cape Breton kitchen according to Pilkey.

“They all work very, very well together, it’s been a very smooth rehearsal process. A very exciting rehearsal process,” Pilkey said.

After directing many pieces of theatre in her time, Pilkey still feels that pre-opening night excitement.

“It’s in my blood,” Pilkey said.

Tickets are $22 for adults and $19 for seniors and students and are available at the Wine Country Visitor Centre at 553 Railway St. Tickets are also available by phone at 250-276-2170.


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