By: Saema Nasir
Anchored by a love story, David French's award-winning play, Salt-Water Moon is a raw look at Newfoundland’s history post-World War I. The story takes the audience through the trials and tribulations suffered by working class men and women both during and after the war. The heart of the story centers around a rocky reunion between two former lovers, Mary Snow and Jacob Mercer. Delving into the experiences of Newfoundlanders through their lenses, the play explores the former couple's passionate past, tempestuous present and uncertain future.
Ravi Jain’s adaptation gives us an intimate look into the lives of Jacob and Mary by creating an ethereal, romantic space where their story unfolds. The bare-bones stage is alight with candles strewn all over and the young lovers are illuminated by them. The cast truly shines; from Kawa Ada’s charismatic portrayal of Jacob to Ania Soul’s moving narration and enigmatic singing voice. However, it is Mayko Nguyen who truly stands out with her depiction of a young woman coming into her own. She is both bitter and hopeful, steely and soft, hard-headed, yet a dreamer. Nguyen adds a level of depth to the character with her authentic and emotionally charged performance.
Soul's narration of French's stage directions is a unique artistic choice that Jain employs. Almost everything she recites is contradicted by the actions of the characters. This element adds to the layers and complexities of the characters. While audiences may grapple with the thread-bare set design, it is the heart of the story that captures our imagination and holds our attention. French has created characters that we can truly care about. We wonder about their struggles, aspirations and potential.
The rich storyline coupled with outstanding acting makes Salt-Water Moon a moving production that will tug at your heartstrings and remind you of your first love.
Photos: Joseph Michael Photography
Saema Nasir is a marketing communications specialist who blogs, writes, paints & explores her beautiful city of Toronto. She has a Masters in Public Relations and also blogs at thecityquill.com. Follow her on Twitter @saemanasir.