The Truth about Love and/or Marriage
Review by Sarah Crane
The other day I saw a newspaper ad that said in large, bold letters, "People are living a lot longer," and underneath in smaller letters: "Let's discuss pre-nuptial agreements." It was an ad for a law firm-those cynics. And so with that attitude in mind, it's a relief that we have Nils Ling to give us The Truth about Love/and or Marriage. Mr. Ling's one-man show, playing every Wednesday throughout July is aptly named. It looks at love and marriage and deals with it on a truly earthly level.
Ling plays a political columnist who begrudgingly accepts a new job writing a column on love and relationships. The character has never had an easy time with relationships. The teen-aged version says he always had more girls who just wanted to be friends than he ever had friends. So, slightly jaded for a humorous view, we get the truth about love. And pre-nuptials to the wind, the show makes it look as though love only gets better the longer it lasts and the older we get, though it's not an easy ride. Interspersed between scenes of real love experiences are touching stories of actual lovers-especially older couples. The whole show, Ling performs to the audience on a personal level. But when he tells his stories about his grandparents it feels like we are in conversation and he is speaking directly to me-an amazing ability.
The Harbourfront Jubilee Theatre provides a wonderful summer theatre experience. On a warm and hazy evening; during the intermission the crowd milled around outside, watching the rocking boats in the Summerside Harbour. The experience would be a romantic one for a couple of any age, but keep in mind it's a realistic romance we're talking about here. Ling performs scenes from teenage moments of fascination with an object of awkward affection, to cranky middle-aged marriage beds. The play is truthful because it doesn't sugar coat or sweeten romance.
The lasting message of the show is the true sweetness of life-long love. Behind the realistic edge and the occasional grumpiness of the main character, there is a tender acknowledgement of the wonderfulness that accompanies a long lasting, tried but true relationship. But it is tender and funny, not sappy. Ling's character admits that his own marriage is "held together with duct tape and bailing wire," but there are great moments of love and companionship in the story. The show is a slice of real life, it's funny, but so is love and it is also touching and sweet.