At The Wedding

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Photo: Marc J. Franklin Review
Like many ritual gatherings, weddings are widely known to bring out the best and worst in those who attend them. This non-revelation is perhaps the biggest take-away from Bryna Turner’s slight one-act dramedy, “At the Wedding,” which is receiving a well-acted production by Lincoln Center Theater (at the Claire Tow Theater).

Admittedly, Turner has a larger (if almost equally obvious) point to make – one that occupies the mind of Carlo (Mary Wiseman), a butch lesbian who decides to attend the nuptials of her long-time ex-girlfriend Eva (the stunning Rebecca S’Manga Frank) –who is marrying a (never-seen) man. While roaming around the wedding venue (spectacularly designed by Maruti Evans) -- usually in search of another drink or place to hide -- Carlo ends up in a series of mostly one-on-one encounters that revolve, directly or indirectly, about the difficulty of finding and keeping love.

During the course of the play, we discover that Eva actually gave Carlo a year to atone for something she did, and that she’s entering this marriage more for practicality than true passion. Meanwhile, Eva’s very inebriated mother Maria (an underused Carolyn McCormick) is bitter about the possibility of true love and rails against the fact that her ex-husband has shown up with a much younger date. As for two other characters, gay cater-waiter Victor (Jorge Donoso) and bridesmaid Carly (Keren Lugo), their purpose is a bit unclear.

In fact, the most interesting people on stage – aside from Carlo – are two guests whom Carlo encounters separately and only figures out later are actually together (albeit in a supposedly open, polyamorous relationship): Eli (the fine Will Rogers) is a puppyish, good-hearted English teacher obsessed with Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” while his partner Leigh (non-binary performer Han Van Sciver, in a striking turn) is a free spirit who loves Eli, but is willing to run away with Carlo for the night, and is (as we learn) definitely not ready to get married.

Director Jenna Worsham keeps the 80-minute play moving well, although I wish she had used the five-door set to create at least one moment of farce (as is inherently promised by the set-up). And I think Turner has done the audience a disservice by not showing the character of Eva’s groom on stage.

Still, with all the show’s flaws, it proves to be a superb showcase for Wiseman (reminiscent in looks and tone of “Saturday Night Live” star Aidy Bryant), who proves to be both spectacularly funny and highly affecting, sometimes simultaneously. As we all know, you don’t always have to be the bride or groom to be the true “star” of a wedding.

By Brian Scott Lipton

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Jorge Donoso, Rebecca S'manga Frank, Keren Lugo, Carolyn McCormick, Will Rogers, Han Van Sciver, Mary Wiseman

Open/Close Dates
Opening 3/21/2022
Closing 4/17/2022

Theatre Info
Claire Tow Theater
150 West 65 Street
New York, NY 10023