TUESDAYS & SUNDAYS
nytheatre.com review by David Hilder
Tuesdays & Sundays arrives at FringeNYC with a history
behind it—three years’ worth of award-winning productions across
Canada. Writers/performers Daniel Arnold and Medina Hahn clearly
know this material in their bones; their skillful telling of
this brief tale of young love is executed with an exactitude
that never, miraculously, seems stale or tired. Their timing, in
a play with myriad instances of overlapping dialogue, is ideal.
They are winning actors who have given themselves a solid,
though underwritten, showcase.
August 15, 2003
Tuesdays & Sundays centers on William and Mary, he 18 years old, she 16, who fall in love in the rural village of Margate on Prince Edward Island in 1887. Their courtship is brief—after a sexual interlude, they do not see each other for months, as William lives in fear of reprisal from his strict family. That the story ends in tragedy is not surprising, but does not need to be. Tuesdays & Sundays owes a rather enormous debt to Brian Friel’s Winners and Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. Arnold and Hahn have no props (nor do they require any) and designer Catherine Mudryk’s set consists solely of a series of stepping stones and a small, low platform. This is story theater, both enacted and narrated by Arnold and Hahn. They ride an extremely fine line between heartfelt emotion and twee preciousness, and happily they avoid oversentimentalizing what is, fundamentally, a sentimental tale.
The world Arnold and Hahn have constructed is beautifully realized, but incomplete; this is a 45-minute play that wants to last an hour. Arnold and Hahn occasionally give voice to other characters; unfortunately, they are few, and as a result Tuesdays & Sundays feels unfinished. Never seeing or hearing William’s parents is troublesome, as they are indirectly responsible for the tragedy. There is also room for the couple at whose party William and Mary meet; they are reported to stay invested in what happens to the young lovers, but they’re never heard from. And the play’s ending is rushed—the tragedy itself is the climax, but there is no subsequent denouement. Hopefully Arnold and Hahn will continue to develop Tuesdays & Sundays, because what’s there is very strong, and very moving.