Onstage power couple, Kendra Kassebaum and Peter Saide, put on a formidable two-person performance in Village Theatre’s I Do! I Do! The play begins the day they are wed in 1895 and ends fifty years later in 1945. In-between we glimpse personal and often funny moments as well as insight into each partner’s perspective and emotions as characters Agnes and Michael deal with the timeless nuances of marriage. Although the setting is historical, the rhetoric and situations are ultimately just as relevant to present-day relationships. But it is other aspects of this play that make it truly remarkable.
The opening night performance was extraordinary. Members of the audience and I were either laughing or completely silent, fully engrossed in the lives of the characters. I purposefully came to the play knowing nothing of the story in order to have a fresh viewpoint. Near the end of the first act, I realized that Kendra and Peter’s two-person performance felt like that of an entire cast. Other characters were woven into the story in such a way that the mere mention of them brought them to life. I could almost see the priest and wedding-goers in the church and I just knew the baby was playing as her mother tidied up.
50 years goes by
At the beginning of the play, two young people stood on the stage saying, “I do!” At the end, two elderly people hobbled away. Wardrobe and makeup changes seemed to happen almost entirely onstage and yet, Agnes and Michael aged. How? The actors, subtly and convincingly, grew old — slight changes in posture, gait, speech and costume combined to simulate the passage of time, a tribute to the actors’ talent.
The original Broadway play’s set was wholly in the couple’s bedroom. Village Theatre took a similar, yet at the same time, entirely different, approach. Three separate sets of moving cabinets provide an endless supply of furniture on demand as well as partitions when needed. Just as the set for Matilda was brilliant in its use of sometimes larger-than-life symbolic backdrops, the cabinet set for I Do! I Do! is brilliant in its pure functionality. I would love to meet Master Scenic Artist Julia B. Franz and Scenic Designer David Sumner, who are likely fans of Swedish furniture design and Transformers. The end result of this set style is that at any point during the evening, it can be any room at all simply by closing one cabinet door and opening another. Incredible.
After feeling every emotion possible, I sighed as the play ended and it was time to rehash it all with my husband. It made us both contemplate deep topics like the fleeting nature of life our gratitude for each other.
I Do! I Do! is playing at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre in Issaquah, Washington now until February 24, 2019, then at the Everett Performing Arts Center in Everett, Washington March 1–24, 2019. Watch the play for entertainment, insight and to enjoy the talent.
A big “thank you!” to Ann Reynolds for her help. Ann, Village Theatre is lucky to have you!