Present Death In Mantua

The program for the Rivier production of The Marley Show claims the play takes place in upstate New York. Could it? Let’s use context clues!

Eva claims to have lost Moe on “Route 45”, a number Dean picked at random. U.S. Highway 45 isn’t a good fit; it seems to be known by that name only in Wisconsin and Illinois. New York State has no State Highway 45, and possibly no significant County Route 45.

However, there is a Route 45 in our very own home state of New Jersey, and—as Bill claims—it runs through farm country. New Jersey’s Route 45 runs roughly parallel to the Turnpike, running from Salem north to Westville. One of the more significant towns on Route 45 is Mantua; perhaps The Marley Show takes place here.

There are a few inconsistencies: no Mantua restaurant overlooks “the bay”. The closest location for Chez Chez would be an hour across the state in the Egg Harbor Township area. And Moe must be genuinely mistaken when he thinks the Canadian border is only ten miles away.

Obviously, this is all trivial speculation, but it’s nice to think that The Marley Show might be the second most famous work that has scenes set in Mantua.

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