Their trip down the aisle was a short one — both the bride and the groom were seated only a few rows back in the Studio Theatre’s Milton Theater. But for Thad Brown, 22, and Carrie Suggs, 29, the couple profiled last week for their plans to marry during a Capital Fringe Festival show, getting hitched went off without a hitch.
Suggs and Brown, who met during theater class at Gallaudet University, were looking for an untraditional wedding. They considered getting married on Leap Day, or renting out a beach house for their families, but then they heard the Faction of Fools company was looking for a couple to marry in their Fringe show, “Tales of Marriage and Mozzarella,” a follow-up to last year’s “Tales of Courage and Poultry,” and decided that itwas perfect for them.
Before Suggs and Brown’s wedding took place, they watched a series of vignettes about weddings in peril — cancelled because the bride was too prudish, or the groom too fickle — a common thread in the traditional 16th century Italian commedia dell’arte that informs Faction of Fools’ productions (Cheese, too, plays a role in each story, as per the title). In the last of these skits, a heedless character is so sure a wedding will take place he offers to triple his daughter’s dowry — and then, when they arrive at the church, she and the groom are nowhere to be found.
“Something’s amiss,” said one of the fathers on stage, and Suggs looked across the theater at her fiancee, and smiled. The characters went frantically in search of another couple to marry, and they tossed a bouquet directly to her. She stood up and removed a blue shawl, revealing a short white cocktail dress — a dress she told Brown he would not see until that day.
Suggs and Brown, dressed in a black suit, red shirt, and white tie, were led to the stage, feigning surprise — they are actors, after all. Their vows were simple and heartfelt — “To have and to hold, to honor and treasure” — spoken in sign language, and translated for the audience by Faction of Fools’ director of access, Lindsey Snyder. As Brown was invited to kiss his bride, Suggs’ nine-year-old son, Alexander, sat in the middle of the first row, hugging his knees. This was the first-ever Fringe festival wedding.
Their first dance took place immediately after the ceremony, as cupcakes were passed around for the audience of friends, family, and strangers. It was to a song written especially for the occasion, and adhered equally to the twin themes of the show — love, and cheese. The lyrics: “As smooth as Velveeta, our love was meant to brie ... I’ll stop the world and melt with you.”
Read more about how Suggs and Brown met and fell in love: For Capital Fringe Festival, Faction of Fools redefines ‘staging a wedding’