Meet the Cast(s) of Mary’s Wedding

We talked to the two casts of Mary’s Wedding about theatre in a pandemic, what they’re excited about, and what the play means to them, among other things. If the state of the world has got you down, read on for some inspiration and hope for the future!


Filipina-Canadian woman with shoulder length hair against a yellow background
Sarah Roa, who plays Mary

How are you doing at this weird time? How has COVID affected your practice?

Sarah Roa: I think that this strange time has opened up my mind towards a better creative artistic practice. I’m more aware of my mental and physical wellness and honor when I need to take a break, as to avoid burn out. Whereas in the before times, I was consistently burning myself out. I am grateful for the challenges that I have faced during this time because it has proven that I am resilient and that theatre is my passion that I will always fight for.

Emma Ross: I felt really rusty when we started out! I haven’t done a full theatre contract since February 2020. There were a lot of times where I had to remind myself of what makes for a successful and fun rehearsal day for me, and what I can be doing to support the rest of the team in the rehearsal hall.

Tanner Zerr: I would say for the most part I’m doing fairly okay during all this craziness. Staying busy helps, and this show has been keeping us quite busy.


As a young person in our current time, how do you think people have changed since 1914? What remains the same?

Dark haired young man with a beard, against a concrete wall
Tanner Zerr, who plays Charlie

TZ: Part of the fun of this script for me has been piecing together what life was like in that time frame. People moved, touched, and thought in a very different way. It certainly wasn’t an easy way of life. Personally, I come from a background of farmers who settled on the prairies in the early 1900s, so it’s given me an opportunity to dive into my own family history to try and build my interpretation of Charlie.


Is Mary’s Wedding a love story, an anti-war play, a beautiful dream, or a mashup of all three? Feel free to throw in other things that the play is, for you.

SR: It is a love story; a journey of witnessing two young people falling in love for the first time. It brings its audience by painting many very beautiful portraits and leaves them thinking about the first person they fell in love with. It’s a moment to reminisce innocence, love and the journey out of adolescence.

ER: To me it’s all three, but a love story at its core. I’m still exploring the juxtaposition between the descriptions of serving on the front line versus the journey of falling in love. It’s a reminder to not take our loved ones for granted. It’s a story that Mary tells for Charlie.


The script makes big jumps in time–as an actor how does that challenge you?

SR: It’s thrilling, Mary ages throughout the play from 15-21 years old in very quick bursts. It keeps me on my toes and has me reliving all those moments in my life as a young person.

ER: Physically adjusting myself according to Mary’s age as well as swapping clearly between Flowers, Mary, and narrating has been the biggest challenge in this production for me. Jacob, Donna and I did a lot of text and brain work to identify time jumps and string different timelines and locations together.

TZ: It’s a good challenge as an actor because we have to make sure we keep the characters’ journey clear and know exactly what’s happened or not happened, in each scene. Thankfully, the playwright helps us out because the scenes are structured in way that, although there’s a jump in time, the emotional quality carries over and almost bleeds into the next scene.


Is there anything you would like audiences to know about this piece?

Young woman in a burgundy top, with shoulder length dirty blonde hair.
Emma Ross, who plays Mary

ER: I think it’s interesting to note that the story takes place over quite a long time span of 6 years. Charlie and Mary meet in early summer of 1914 and the play ends in 1920.


What about this performance are you most excited about?

ER: I’m really excited to time travel with our audiences! Stephen Massicotte’s text is filled with rich and specific imagery. It’s really fulfilling when I allow myself to let the language transport me. I hope that watching our show will do the same for others.

TZ: I think I’m most excited for the tech. We’ve been working hard rehearsing to make sure the story is in our bodies, but the set, lights, costumes, and sound really brings it together. It puts you right into the world of it, and it informs so much of the performance.


Are there any upcoming performances (Firehall or otherwise) that you are looking forward to?

SR: I was meant to have my first season at Bard on the Beach in 2020. The show is being produced this year and I am beyond excited about it. I will be playing my dream role, Puck in a Midsummer Nights Dream.

Young bearded man with dark hair and a beard, against a white background
Jacob Leonard, who plays Charlie

Jacob Leonard: I really want to see Noises Off with the Arts Club. I have wanted to do a bombastic comedy for a while but don’t necessarily think I have the proper skillset at this point in my career. I think seeing Noises off would provide me with many valuable ideas and lessons about the genre.

ER: Beautiful Man at Pi Theatre, Ominous Sounds at the River Crossing at Touchstone Theatre and Six of One at Studio 58!


What has been inspiring you lately? (Theatre or not!)

SR: Working with children has been very inspiring. I teach drama at the Shadbolt Arts Centre and my youngest group I teach is between 4-5 years old. They are such a delight to be in the room with because they are so engaged and committed to their imaginations. It’s wonderful to watch them play and share my love for acting with them.

JL: I’ve been really inspired by HBO’s Succession. It’s one of those rare TV shows where you wonder how its conception was even possible. The directing, writing, producing and acting all just come together perfectly on some cosmic level or something–I don’t know–that sounds whimsical, but it’s true. Shows like this shouldn’t exist on paper. There is just far too much dedication and talent.

ER: I’m obsessed with Euphoria like the rest of the world, as well as Florence Pugh and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

TZ: it’s inspiring for me to see theatre companies like the Firehall creating work for young actors such as myself. Trying to start your career as an actor in the middle of the pandemic is daunting to say the least, but this show gives me hope, and hopefully it will inspire other people too.




Exploring the Pandemic’s Lexicon

We Will Be Back Soon But We Need Your Help

With fingers crossed the Firehall looks forward to re-opening in July with live performances for a limited number of audience members. The Firehall has been at the forefront of ensuring we have a comprehensive COVID safety plan in place for when audiences and artists meet again. Our staff and volunteers are receiving training in all aspects of keeping everyone safe. But as we move forward with plans for the summer and the 2021-2022 season, we are asking for your support to ensure the Firehall’s recovery from the impact the pandemic has had on the arts.

Exploring the pandemic’s lexicon:

PPEs: Before COVID, personal protection equipment may have had many different interpretations which we won’t explore in this message but since March 2020 everyone has become pretty familiar with the acronym. Help us say a big thank you to the front-line workers in health care, in safety services and in grocery stores and in particular to those who have been working in the Downtown Eastside to reduce the impact of COVID and the DRUG pandemic. All funds raised through the PPE ticket donation program will go towards providing free tickets to those who have worked diligently to keep us safe. A donation of $100 will support four complimentary tickets for five front-line workers.

ZOOM: Since the pandemic we don’t have meetings or conversations – we “jump” on Zoom to connect visually and hope everyone’s camera is focused above their waistlines and if their children interrupt or they want to introduce us to their cat, dog or hamster that we have the patience to be kind. At the Firehall as we tried to bring more and more of our activities online, we discovered our antiquated systems were sadly lacking and although some upgrades were undertaken there is still more to be done. Help us upgrade into the new world of digital connection with a donation of whatever amount works with your budget.

PIVOT: Pivoting became about changing your lifestyle from day to day to ensure everything you did was essential and if you had doubts, you pivoted to stay at home. A donation of $150 will help support 1.5 minutes of choreographic creation in which a dance artist could show you a truly physical pivot.

STREAM/STREAMING: A stream is no longer a place where you go for a cool dip and streaming is not about weeping profusely as you laugh at something said on stage or have an allergic reaction to the amazing plethora of flowering trees that helped us all stay hopeful during the Circuit Breaker. A donation of $200 will help us record and stream some of our live performances next season for those who may not be able to come to a live theatre performance for various reasons.

ESSENTIAL/NON-ESSENTIAL: An essential service became just about everything except for attendance at live performances while non-essential services were never quite clear to many of us. Essential: Actors, dancers, playwrights, choreographers, musicians, designers, creative workers are all essential. We need them in our lives to encourage us to dream, to feel, to learn, to cry and to laugh. Non-essential: Nothing is non-essential in the arts. We always have places where funds are required – whether it is purchasing toilet paper (apparently essential given the toilet paper shortages during the early days of the lockdown) or supporting the maintenance and operations of the Firehall. A donation of $300 will help us with all of those things.

DIALING IT UP like on a dimmer switch became a way to talk about the restrictions but we were never certain if that meant adding more restrictions or the other way around. In the theatre, bringing up the dimmer means increasing the intensity of the stage lighting so maybe that was really about the light at the end of the tunnel becoming brighter. For a donation of $500 you can support the costs of one actor’s costume so they can wow you with they’re intensity.

CIRCUIT BREAKER: A circuit breaker is no longer the way you find out if you have overloaded electrical circuits (like what happens at the Firehall when we plug the micro-wave in when the coffee machine is running) but a way to stop the spread of the virus and its variants. Help us celebrate keeping the circuit breakers open after so many dark nights of empty stages and only the Firehall Ghosts performing by making a donation of $1000.

STAY-CATION: Stay-cations became inventive ways to keep your family entertained or to get outdoors and to escape watching another show on Netflix. Everyone searched for new places to go and new things to do in our neighborhoods. We took on DIY projects, read a lot of books, planted gardens, and then checked out a few glasses of wine or tasted the herbs growing in the window box. If you are still looking for a great stay-cation for donations of $10000, we will plan a theme-party for you in your ten person bubble. Feel like a night in Mexico – let us transform the courtyard and bring on the tequila. Suggest a location or theme of your choice and we will get on to planning an event to remember.

Ah, the language of the pandemic. We hope you had some fun reading this and are encouraged to make whatever donation amount you choose. We know you are missing coming to live performances and we sure know we miss doing them for you. Thanks for your wonderful support – stay safe and we will see you soon.


The Firehall Theatre Society is a not for profit charity ( #119232965RR001) and all donations are tax-deductible.

The Amaryllis has been CANCELLED

Due to the updated provincial health orders, the Firehall Arts Centre will be suspending live performances beginning November 20 until December 7.
The Firehall takes pride in having hosted safe in-person performances over the past five months with limited seating and approved COVID-19 safety protocols. Artistic Producer Donna Spencer says, “We are disheartened by the recent restrictions to suspend further operations as our patrons have greatly appreciated the safe haven we have provided for them to enjoy the performing arts, but we respect the advice of Dr. Bonnie Henry and will adhere to these updated orders.”
The Firehall Arts Centre is hopeful to be able to move forward with live performances once again with our seasonal production, Solstice Greetings, on December 17, 18 and 19, pending approval from the Provincial Health Services Authority. Patrons will be notified of potential virtual performances.
Please stay safe and take good care of yourself. We hope to see you again soon.