Piggery production circumvents Salt Water Moon pitfalls

By PAT DONNELLY (The Gazette)

August 15, 1987


Salt Water Moon by David French, directed by Greg Tuck at the Piggery in North Hatley, Tuesday through Saturday until Aug. 29.

David French’s poetic two-hander, Salt Water Moon, touches that teasing philosophical question – where would you be if your parents hadn’t gotten together?

The post-pill generation may be able to demand straight answers on the circumstances of their conception, but baby boomers can only extrapolate from the discreet courtship anecdotes handed down from a time when marriage was as inevitable as the rising of the moon, and children were an unquestioned consequence.

The American film industry has been making hay out of this one recently with Back to the Future and Peggy Sue Got Married.

On the theatrical front, the obvious comparison for Salt Water Moon is Lanford Wilson’s Talley’s Folley. Both have the same basic ingredients: moonlight on the water, the return of an old flame and the subtle suspense of will-she-or-won’t-she?, but French’s play is better stuff.

There is no denying, however, that the power of this Newfoundland romance (written for and about French’s parents) lies in the word.

A superlative radio play, Salt Water Moon holds many pitfalls for live performance.

Most of them have been successfully circumvented in the current Piggery production.

Director Greg Tuck has kept it from becoming static without resorting to excessive movement. Don McEwen’s moon-enhancing set – a clapboard house perched on the rocks, with a rocking-chair-porch to survey the sea – is perfect.

The actors (both perfectly cast to type) are, however, very young and inexperienced. Neither one is up to the expectations created by the production seen at Centaur Theatre a couple of years ago.

On opening night, Paul Miller gradually warmed to his role of the suitor on shaky ground but Cary Lawrence, as Mary Snow, the starchy girl who gets talked out of social security and into passion, was chillier than necessary and frequently lost her vocal balance by tripping over her acquired Newfie accent.

Since Miller and Lawrence are both at the beginning of their careers (with no immediate end in sight – the talent is there) Piggery patrons have every reason to hope that Salt Water Moon will shine even brighter in the Eastern Townships as the run progresses.


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