Five disgruntled bridesmaids are sitting in an upstairs bedroom, discussing ditching the downstairs wedding reception.
That’s the superficial premise of Central Alberta Theatre’s dramedy, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, which opens Friday, March 24, in the Nickle Studio, upstairs at the Memorial Centre.
The plot delves deeper, since it’s written by Oscar-winning screenwriter Alan Ball (American Beauty).
Ball, also an Emmy Award-winner, who created the TV shows Six Feet Under and True Blood, can be a pretty dark writer, admitted Five Women director Craig Scott. This slice-of-life play contains swear words, drug references and adult themes — but it’s also extremely funny.
While there are teary moments, Scott believes there are also plenty of hilarious exchanges between the women as they bond over their collective dislike of the bride.
Scott explains the bridezilla, Tracy, comes from an affluent American family. She’s extremely good looking and self-absorbed. Although she’s asked these women to be in her wedding party, she actually hasn’t hung out with many of them for quite a while.
The bridesmaids are: Tracy’s sister, Meredith, Frances, their “ultra-Christian” poor cousin, Georgeanne, an old college sidekick of the bride’s, Trisha, a buddy from her “wild days,” and Mindy, the lesbian sister of the groom.
Scott reveals that one of these women is hiding an abusive experience, “and you’d be surprised by which one.”
He can relate to the script because his late mother was sexually assaulted when she was young, became pregnant, and had to give his half-brother up for adoption. “When you pull out the stats on rape, it’s unbelievable how many women have been sexually abused sometime in their lives.”
CAT will donate $1 from each ticket sold to the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter.
Besides getting a theatrical glimpse at emotional female bonding (“which is something men don’t do,”) Scott has enjoyed helping the actors — including one male — bring their dimensional roles to life.
The script contains some monologues as the women tell their stories — and one speech is so good, it’s often used by actors at auditions, he added. “It’s written in a very believable way…”
The play (not a dinner theatre) runs to April 7. For more information, please contact the Black Knight Ticket Centre.