Vow or Never

Call for ticket information about these upcoming productions. The Cleveland Play House, 216-795-7000;
Cleveland Public Theatre, 216-631-2727;
Bad Epitaph Theater Company, 216-241-6000 (Advantix).
Something old, borrowed, and  blue.
Something old, borrowed, and blue.
Mr. Ephraim Tibbals removed the door between the parlor and the sitting room when he learned that his daughter's fiancé had returned from the Mexican War and would resume courting her.

"As if we couldn't look after ourselves!" exclaims pink-cheeked Phoebe of dad's drain on her privacy.

But Mr. Tibbals doesn't have much longer to monitor his daughter's love life, because she is to marry her fiancé, Jeremiah Granger, on Sunday, September 12 — in the year 1848.

The happy but fictitious couple are portrayed by Christi Klinefelter and Michael Weeks, two of 35 historical interpreters who "live" and "work" in the fictitious township of Wheatfield at Hale Farm & Village in the year 1848. They'll tie the knot on Sunday at 1 p.m. in a public ceremony that won't have a DJ with a tiny ponytail playing the Macarena.

Phoebe's wedding dress, sewn by herself and relatives, will be royal blue. "I originally wanted gold, to go with my parents' parlor, where the ceremony will take place," she confides, "but there simply wasn't enough yardage on the piece I found."

Some brides are starting to wear white dresses, she reports in the script.

"White seems so impractical, though," she says. "You stain it once, and you can't wear it again." If Phoebe needs a good stiff drink on her big day (and it sounds like she does), she'll have to take a nip behind the shed. The Tibbals are a "temperate family," so they'll be serving lemonade. As for tuxedos, music, and dancing — there ain't none. But there is an old fart who rattles everybody's nerves.

"I play the cantankerous old geezer to the hilt," says Larry Marzulli, who plays the groom's father, Marcellus Granger. "A lot of the wedding is ad lib. The main participants — the bride and groom — are scripted a little more, though."

Marzulli, a University of Toledo professor emeritus of religion, sociology, and political science, says the job has its challenges, especially when the audience doesn't speak English. He knows French, but not when it comes to thees and thous. And he can't deviate from history — which foreign guests often aren't familiar with — and have Napoleon conquer Akron.

But being of pioneer stock has its pleasures, sometimes with the coup de grace of getting beaned by a broomstick. Marzulli particularly revels in his juicy line: "A good wife is an obedient one who always listens to her husband." So hold your tongue, and pass the lemonade. — Lisa Palazzo

"I Thee Wed," at 1 p.m. Sunday at Hale Farm & Village, 2688 Oak Hill Road, Bath. Admission is $9 adults, $5.50 children 6-12; call 330-666-3711.

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