The Song of Bernadette Jones
By Maura Campbell
The 2018 Fresh Fruit Festival
The Wild Project
195 East 3rd Street
Review by Jade Fernandez
Maura Campbell’s production of The Song of Bernadette Jones captures the coming of age story of gender fluid Carolyn Jones, who is dealing with the guilt that came with the tragic loss of her younger sister, Mary who froze to death in Alaska when they were very young. After Mary’s death Carolyn is forced to navigate the world outside of Alaska on her own. She encounters challenges with boys, basketball, and even magic. Carolyn meets Robert, played by Tom Hayes. A quirky yet sweet character who helps Carolyn communicate with her sister through a Ouija board. They find themselves communicating with not only Mary but Mary’s incarnations Saint Bernadette, prostitute Bernadette, and movie star Jennifer Jones as well. With the help of these women, Carolyn learns that she must love herself and all that she is.
Maura Campbell’s use of flashbacks kept me at the edge of my seat and thinking. I found myself sometimes confused as to where we were or what time it was. Maybe using different colored lighting could have been a way to clearly distinguish the past and present. The cast did an amazing job. Bryn Dolan’s youthful looks, grace and skillful acting made her the perfect Mary. I really identified with the character she created. It was a realistic and strong performance.
I liked this play, but I wish the author would have focused more on Carolyn’s gender identity struggle. It would have been interesting to see Carolyn pursue women and possibly have a female love interest, but overall, Campbell’s production of The Song of Bernadette Jones made me appreciate myself way more because just like Carolyn, there’s no doubt that I Jade Fernandez was made from a broken mold, in a good way of course.