The action of the play takes place in the basement of a New Hampshire church, which has been set up for a small reception, on the day of a wedding rehearsal that never takes place. The bride, her sister, her mother and her aunt, a patrician group who have come up from New York, wait in vain for the groom and his family to appear—but they are apparently off at a local hostelry busily getting drunk. They are, however, joined by Dixie, a down-on-her-luck entertainer who has been engaged by one of the absent men to sing at the wedding. The unlikely and sometimes abrasive interaction between the bored, sophisticated women and the earthy, outspoken Dixie leads on to some disturbing revelations, as the ladies let down their defenses and, in turn, expose their secret, private feelings—and the bitter frustrations that lie beneath their well-bred veneers.
Presented in New York by Joseph Papp's Public Theatre, this probing, incisive and often funny examination of a wedding rehearsal which never comes off marks a new level of accomplishment by one of our theatre's most important writers. "The writing is joyful—the lines crackle across the stage with a mordant wit…TAKEN IN MARRIAGE is Babe's most important play to date." —NY Post. "TAKEN IN MARRIAGE makes a fascinating and tantalizing show from beginning to end. The writing is witty and precise, and it cuts deep. It is not often that actresses are given lines like Mr. Babe's or roles as rich as his…" —The New Yorker. "In TAKEN IN MARRIAGE Thomas Babe, a writer with talent to burn, has written a dramatic 'cantata' for five voices, beautifully 'sung' by a superb cast." —The Hollywood Reporter.