Despite the hype and anticipation surrounding a new couple’s wedding night, more often than not, reality fails to meet expectations.

Left alone in the wake of months of planning and then the ceremony itself, the couple is usually overwhelmed and lusting after sleep rather than one another. Ottawa writer Nadine Thornhill, inspired by this decided lack of fireworks facing nascent nuptials, has crafted a play called The Wedding Night.

“Basically, what happens on the wedding night is the reverse of what you’d expect in the situation,” Thornhill says.

The Wedding Night stars Kate Smith, Joe Marques, Ali Gratian, Mark McPherson and Rachelle Todd, and focuses on two couples and one office administrator.

In the play, Gabrielle Modernizer (Kate Smith) gets married to Benjamin Hansberger (Joe Marques) despite a vow never to do just that. Their wedding night unfolds as a series of challenged misconceptions, including being privy to hearing a particularly loud couple in the next hotel room.
Thornhill, herself a mother and wife, was drawn to write this play after experiencing the demands and preconceived notions society places on those roles. She was married eight years ago and now has a son.

She examines these roles through the lens of the wedding night. “There is an expectation of great sex and fireworks, and sometimes that is just not happening.”

Thornhill is a veteran of the Toronto and Waterloo Fringe Festivals, and has attended many Ottawa Fringe Festivals, but this will be her first time as a participant.

“I love all the Fringe festivals. You get such a diverse mix of theatre. There are always new artists, writers and directors emerging. It’s a party atmosphere,” Thornhill says.

And while Ottawa is often characterized as a conservative town, Thornhill says the theatre community is daring and diverse, with the Fringe Festival being the ultimate place to air new creations.

>> The Wedding Night opens in the Academic Hall tonight at 8 p.m. and runs until June 29.

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