If you are going to program a play up against the Vancouver Fringe Festival, you need to make sure it is significant. The Kay Meek Arts Centre in West Vancouver thinks it has the answer to the Fringe juggernaut with a production of Daniel MacIvor’s celebrated Canadian script Marion Bridge.
But while the play about three estranged sisters reuniting to care for their dying mother may be reason enough to lure audiences away from Granville Island, it will also mark the final performances of theatre icon Nicola Cavendish as she has announced her retirement after the show closes.
“I have spent forty-two years on the stage and am moving away from it now,” says Cavendish. “This is most likely my last production and it is a lovely play to go out with.”
Alongside Cavendish are two other acting veterans, Beatrice Zeilinger and Lynda Boyd. With Marion Bridge, it will mark Boyd’s return to the stage following a fourteen-year absence.
“I used to do only theatre and gradually moved away from it because I wanted to learn how to do television and film,” says Boyd who may be best known for her six seasons on CBC’s The Republic of Doyle. “It was time to return to my roots”.
Calling Marion Bridge an engaging and funny story, with well-penned characters, Cavendish also says it deals with some big issues. But what stands out is the obvious admiration the three actors have for each other.
“It is always wonderful to collaborate with people who you admire and respect and can have fun with and share openly,” says Zeilinger. “Nicola Cavendish is a treasure and … that’s reason enough to see it in my books.”
And even while Daniel MacIvor’s script is deeply honest and caustically witty, it is also a workout for its actors; a fitting goodbye to close a prolific career and welcome back an actor to the stage.
“There are a lot of words and all of them good,” says Cavendish. “Getting them in the right order takes it’s time.”
Vancouver Presents contributing editor Mark Robins went live into the rehearsal studio to find out more about the show and a chat with Cavendish about her career on stage.
Marion Bridge plays the Kay Meek Arts Centre in West Vancouver from September 6-20. Visit kaymeek.com for tickets and information.