‘T’il Love Do Us Part is a dark play about love, life, and death, written by Andrew Hall and directed by Cameron J. Marcotte. Part absurd, part realism, and part cautionary tale, the whole of this play centers upon the relationship between John and Virginia Walker. The audience is taken on a journey through their seventy year relationship, which begins and ends with death. After a chance meeting at the same cemetery where John’s father and Virginia’s mother are being buried, the two characters find each other, each alone and lost, desperate to connect with another person. A casket holds the center of the stage as a constant reminder of death, as the two characters try to heal, to love, and to live in the fractured and flawed world between them.
The play begins with another character, an unnamed young girl, unseen by the two main characters. She enters the stage dancing and wide-eyed, and appears to be an angel or a spirit, witness to the couple’s attempts to love as they navigate the broken places inside themselves and between each other. This character, played by Marshall Louise, successfully translates the emotional terrain of their relationship, as she watches the characters fall in love, then fall and break, wanting to see them truly love, helpless to stop them from hurting each other.
John and Virginia Walker are played by Robert Latrenta and Abigail Milnor-Sweetser, who both conveyed a range of depth and emotion while attempting to portray the life-span of these two characters, who literally “love each other to death.” At their first meeting, they are both painfully awkward and shy; they struggle to open up and reveal themselves to another person. As time passes, a lively, antagonistic banter develops between them. Their sexual relationship also speaks to the development of their aggressiveness towards each other; they begin by kissing shyly, tenderly, then progress into a sexual scene which is suggestively rough and forceful, almost violent in the attempt to connect.
After twenty-seven years together, John says, “This wasn’t what I wanted.” He says that he had given up his dreams in order to be with Virginia. To buy a house for her, he took a job he hated; he had become someone he never wanted to be – his father. He resents that they are childless, and feels that he wasted his life trying to save someone who could not be saved. A terrible fight ensues and their hostility and anger, both within and towards each other, spirals into viciousness and violence. This confrontation offers an opportunity to grow closer. Virginia finally talks about her feelings about her mother, and how her mother had damaged her as a child. She did not believe herself capable of being loved until she met John. She says that her mother must have been right. John says that he loves her. He says he does not want to leave her, he can’t leave her. He has nowhere else to go.
Neither of these characters have anywhere else to go, save for the unmistakable casket that takes center stage in each scene and stage of their relationship. One wants these characters to find a path together where love doesn’t mean giving up their dreams or becoming stuck and trapped in a relationship that is broken, a dead-end, a place that doesn’t allow them to expand or grow. One wants these characters to love themselves and each other in ways that can heal instead of hurt. ‘Til Love Do Us Part offers a very interesting look into relationships symbolized by the ever-present coffin. Yes, this is a dark play. It is also a play that provokes thought into how we love, how we live, and how we die, both literally and figuratively; these threads are woven into the play in different ways that intertwine and affect us all.
John Walker: Robert Latrenta
Young Girl: Marshall Louise
Virginia Walker: Abigail Milnor-Sweetser
Playwright/Composer: Andrew Hall
Director: Cameron J. Marcotte
Dramaturg: Nathan “Nati” Avni-Singer
Choreographer: Jillene Johnson
Costume Designer: Elise VanderKley
Lighting Designer: Nia L. Adams
Sound Designer: Ido Levran
Makeup and Hair: Meg Murphy
Production Stage Manager: Mackenzie Meeks
Assistant Stage Manager: Anne Ciarlone
Creative Consultants: Daniel Talbott and Alex Keegan
~~~Til Love Do Us Part Company: High Frequency Theatre Directed by: Cameron J. Marcotte Feb 26, 5:30PM Mar 01, 9:00PM Mar 03, 4:00PM $10.00 UNDER St.Marks