by Lynn on October 26, 2023

in The Passionate Playgoer

Live and in person at Theatre Orangeville, Orangeville, Ont. Plays until Oct. 29, 2023.

Written by Jamie Williams

Directed by David Nairn

Set by Beckie Morris

Costumes by Alex Amini

Lighting by Louise Guinand

Cast: Melanie Janzen

Jamie Williams

A sweet-prickly play about the year in the life of a long-married couple who know everything about each other and still have room to be surprised and romanced.

It’s New Year’s Eve and Mary and Michael, long-married, are getting ready for bed: she with flossing her teeth, eye shade, a book etc. he with an eye-shade, a thingy for the nose to aid breathing (I think), a book, etc. They talk about sex. They banter. They talk about sex some more. They turn the light out.

Jamie Williams has written this play based on the boring routine he and his wife actress Melanie Janzen do to prepare for bed. That’s as a start. To add a wonderful closeness and intimacy to the piece, Jamie Williams is performing this with his wife Melanie Janzen.

The dialogue is fast, funny, witty, silly, thoughtful and covers all sorts of events in the lives of this couple over the year. Michael is an editor at a local newspaper and is worried that the new owners of the place, the children of the late publisher, will want to sell and then what would he do?

Mary tries to calm his fears, which turn out to be real. They cope as long-married couples do, with humour, support, hugs, assurances, and hope. There are health issues. There are plans to make, trips to arrange, a wedding of their daughter.

The View From Here will have everybody nodding in recognition. We’ve all been there in one way or another. David Nairn has matched the swiftness of the dialogue with an efficiently, smartly directed production. Beckie Morris has designed a set that is on a revolved. One part of the set is Michael and Mary’s bedroom the other part of the set is the living room. The action takes place in one or the other of these places. To change locations a stagehand pushes the set around on its revolve from either the bedroom to the living room, or vice versa. To suggest the passage of a day, but would be the same location, the stagehand pushes the set completely around. I must confess, I found the revolving for anything other than to change the location unnecessary and time consuming. If a day passed all that was needed would be to either make the bed or change the props, since Mary’s pajamas usually changed to suggest the passage of time. (Kudos to Alex Amini for her costumes, especially Mary’s vibrant pajamas). After a while I looked on that stagehand as Sisyphus pushing that boulder up a hill.

Both Jamie Willams as Michael and Melanie Janzen as Mary are charming in their own right. As a long-married couple, they have the familiar rhythm and shorthand of couples who know each other intimately. Indeed, there is a lot of intimacy here and it is comforting to know the two are married and comfortable with a touch, a hug or a caress.  Michael is a fretter and Mary is calmer. Both compliment and comfort each other beautifully.

The View from Here looks pretty good from here.

Theatre Orangeville Presents:

Plays until Oct. 29, 2023.

I saw it, Oct. 25, 2023.

Running Time: 2 hours (1 intermission)

Leave a Comment