Marion Bridge, on stage at Whittle in Wolfville, written for playwright’s mother

Wendy Elliott
Published on July 7, 2014
Daniel MacIvor

Hants County-based playwright, Daniel MacIvor, says he wrote one play just for his mother.

“It’s funny,” he says, “she asked me to write something she might like.”

Marion Bridge started from there.

Valley Summer Theatre is presenting MacIvor’s most popular play at the Al Whittle Theatre in Wolfville this month.

Marion Bridge is the story of three sisters who hold a bitterly comic vigil over their ailing mother, and MacIvor says all three are familiar characters to him.

“You know those people,” he says. “It’s about finding family again. Yet the characters find their roles have changed.”

MacIvor chuckles as he tells the story of taking his mom to the opening night of Marion Bridge in New York City. She was nearly 80. The presenters introduced her and presented her with flowers.

“She stood at the door as people were leaving. She hugged every one.”

He says he’s been told that one of the appealing aspects of Marion Bridge is the fact that none of the female characters have issues about men. The conflict is largely between them.

A two-act play set in Sydney, it has been called the writer’s most conventional work as it reckons with a family history that has pushed the trio in their separate ways.

Rich in characterization, warm and funny, Marion Bridge was nominated for the 1999 Governor-General’s Award and was made into a feature film in 2002.

“Actors like doing it,” he adds.

Productions have been staged everywhere from Vancouver to Tokyo. But he thinks the Whittle is an excellent venue, a great little theatre, and a fantastic spot to stage this play.

MacIvor has been busy himself lately performing his one-man show, Who Killed Spalding Gray, at the Magnetic North Festival in Halifax.

He says he enjoys living outside Windsor. The Cape Breton native made Halifax his home for a while, but stumbled across his house in Avondale and likes the relative isolation.

“Yet it’s only an hour away from the city,” he said. “I didn’t know Avondale before at all. It’s great.”

Marion Bridge will run until July 20. Tickets are available at the Box of Delights in Wolfville.