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Best laid wedding plans go awry in Central Alberta Theatre’s ‘Stag & Doe’

The comedy runs March 10-25 at Festival Hall in Red Deer
Actors rehearse a scene from ‘Stag & Doe,’ the Central Alberta Theatre comedy opening on March 10 at Festival Hall. (Contributed photo)

Barbara Jean Askin has been to some memorable weddings over the years.

“I’ve been to two with fist-fights,” said Askin — including one where the bride had a drink spilled on her while breaking up a brawl between the groom and his cousin.

“I remember thinking, oh! Her veil is coming off, what do we do?” said Askin, with a chuckle.

Given her exposure to best laid plans going awry, it isn’t surprising the retired Lindsay Thurber high school drama teacher gravitated towards directing the play Stag & Doe, for Central Alberta Theatre.

The story is so relatable, she said. “It’s just awesome!”

The comedy, written by Canadian playwright Mark Crawford, opens on Friday, March 10, at Festival Hall, next to the Memorial Centre.

The story takes place in a small town, just after a major windstorm sweeps away the tent needed for a local couple’s wedding reception.

Desperate bridezilla Mandy and her groom, Rob, seek to use the local community hall, instead. But the space is already scheduled for a bachelor/bachelorette party for an engaged couple, Bonnie and Brad.

As the marital duo pleads to double-book the room — the idea is reception guests would clear out by 9 p.m. so the stag and doe can be held — it occurs to Bonnie and Brad this is a good way to make a fast buck towards their own wedding costs.

But sharing the space won’t be easy with all the complications that arise — including the caterer losing all of his wait staff.

Then there’s the unfortunate circumstance that Bonnie’s best friend — stag-and-doe organizer Dee — was previously left at the alter by Rob because of his growing interest in Mandy. Awkward.

Directing this play has been “side-splittingly funny,” said Askin, because her six actors are all so quick on their feet with well-honed comic timing. Working with the “exceptional” cast, including Ash Mercia, Nicole Leal and Paul Sutherland, has been a pleasure added the director, who counts Leal as one of her former drama students.

She can still remember Sutherland’s talented performance years ago at a festival at his Notre Dame High School. “I was thinking why aren’t you in my class?”

As the young actors bring Crawford’s well-rounded characters to life, so much chaos unfolds that audience members will wonder if either of these couples will survive the tempest, said Askin.

“Love is supposed to prevail, but can these couples get through it?”

Stag & Doe, with theatre-only, brunch and dinner theatre performances, will run to March 25. For more information, please visit