Kenzie Delo’s play Wave On, Ocean Blue could be a hilarious Alistair MacLeod pastiche, except Delo isn’t joking.
The story centers on two fishermen, Gary and Mickey, who foolhardily attempt to brave a terrible storm in a fishing boat with a crack in it, leaving their wives, Gabby and Mary, at home to worry about them. When they are visited by Drew, a city boy enchanted by the quaint idea of a small ocean side village, but whose morals have been corrupted by urban development, he stirs up a ruckus that forces these two couples to examine their priorities and the foundations on which their relationships are built.
While all the characters are stereotypes, Gary and Gabby are the closest to being fully realized three dimensional characters. I liked the way that Gabby expressed her love for Gary in bickering and Wendy Martin did a beautiful job of capturing Gabby’s worry and love of Gary beneath her angry and lambasting veneer. Ali Walsh is sweet and demure as Mary, as is Brandon Lorimer as Mickey, but I wanted there to be more depth and conflict for both of them as their lives become more complex and their relationship multifaceted.
I had quite a few questions about this piece. Most importantly was where we were geographically. The accents sounded mostly Irish, but the dialogue suggested Newfoundland or Cape Breton. I wanted much more specificity rooting the play both in its place and in its time in history. I also wondered why Mickey and Gary were so eager to go out fishing when they knew a horrible storm was coming. I wanted the stakes here to be higher- that they were forced to go out to face potential death because the consequences of not going out fishing were even worse. Or, conversely, that risking death rather than staying home with their wives reflected an irrevocable dissonance in both their marriages.
Delo makes a lot of interesting choices in the arc of this play but I would suggest that he work on making the solutions and the complications to his choices less convenient, more challenging and imperfect.
Wave on, Ocean Blue at the Atlantic Fringe Festival has closed.