He Won't Marry Me

Hayden Finkelshtain and Alison Beckwith in He Won't Marry Me - Port Hope Arts Festival 2023

Like most of my plays, this one began with a kernel of reality. A few years ago, I was meeting an urban clergyman for coffee. He arrived steaming mad and may, in fact, have used some language not generally associated with men of the cloth. He had just had a meeting with a woman who was casing out his church for a society wedding. The church in question has, at any given time, homeless people on its front lawn - giving them a place of refuge, safety, with cooling grass and trees in the midst of the city. The bride-to-be, after gathering the data she felt she needed to make an informed nuptial choice, said - as an afterthought - "And of course you'll be moving them, won't you?"

I suspect she had her wedding elsewhere.

Text of He Won't Marry Me


A bride-to-be is shopping for a church. Her needs are simple: a centre aisle, a little Beyonce for the service, and the removal of anything and anyone she deems unsightly from the immediate vicinity. To her shock, she discovers the Minister does not share her vision.

The Cast:

BRIDE, mid to late-twenties
MINISTER - any age, but older

The Setting:

BRIDE is standing on the steps of a church, in a minor rage. She is talking on her cellphone. She holds a wedding dress.

Play History:

He Won't Marry Me premiered at Acme Theatre New Works Winter Festival, Maynard, Massachusetts, January 2010. It was next produced at Panoply Festival, Huntsville, Alabama, May 2010; and subsequently at a number of other festivals in the USA, including The Storefront Theatre's 2015 short play festival in North Carolina (Judy Simpson Cook, Artistic Director); and at The Puzzle: Marble's Festival of New Work, Marble Collegiate Church, New York City. The director of that production was Justin Bennett and the cast was Alex Sunderhaus and Dennis Ryan. Oveer the ensuing decade, the play has had a number of productions in the US and, most recently, had its Canadian premiere at the Port Hope Arts Festival in August, 2023.