Last night, I was simply delighted to watch the University Players’ production of Alan Ball’s “5 Women Wearing the Same Dress” at the University of Windsor. This is their last production of the season, and they certainly went out with a bang! Myself, and my friends who came to see the show with me, thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

“5 Women Wearing the Same Dress” takes place at the home of the Tracy (the bride’s) parents. We meet Tracy’s bridesmaids: Frances, Mindy, Georgeanne, Meredith and Trish, and follow their escapades as they attempt to escape, but are forced to return to, the wedding reception being held in the back yard. Like any comedy, it has its moments of being very serious, however those serious moments lead to comical results! These five women are so different, which makes it all the more beautiful to watch them come together as friends in the end.

I thought that the cast of this play was fabulous! All of the women were suited very well to their parts, and there certainly was not a weak link among them. Heather Gallant played the Southern Christian belle to a T and made the audience laugh consistently. Katie Preston’s Meredith was wonderful, and I enjoyed watching her transformation throughout the play; she was able to make me laugh just as much as cry, which to me is part of the beauty of live theatre. Cara Rodger was a perfect seductress (Trish), and played off of her male counterpart (the only other character seen in the play, Tripp) very well. Rose Hopkins’ Mindy was hilarious, and given that this play was written in the early 90’s, her role as a lesbian in the play was a delicate one, and she played it very well. Alyson Parovel’s Georgeanne was so adorable, and as a woman my heart went out to this poor romantic who was stuck in a loveless marriage. All of the actresses in this play embodied the stereotypes they represented well, without making it obvious that they were indeed stereotypes.

The set for the play was beautiful! My friends and I all agreed that we want a bedroom that looks just like the one on stage. David Court is such a local treasure, whose works I feel so lucky to get to see on a regular basis. Same thing with Agatha Knelsen, the costume designer. The dresses these women were wearing were fabulous, and by fabulous I mean really rather too poufy for anyone to ever want to wear again! Aggie always impresses me with the level of detail and beauty that she is able to achieve in her costumes. I am blessed to say that I have known Aggie and David since I was a young girl, and therefore it makes it all the more exciting for me to get to go on a regular basis and see their work.

My favourite part of the experience with this show was the lobby. As you entered the theatre, the wedding reception was already occurring out in the lobby. There was music and dancing and party guests and the bridesmaids were even out there dancing too! The lobby was totally decorated and all of the pictures that would indicate that it was a theatre were covered. We were fully submersed in the world of the play from the moment we walked in the door. I LOVED that the play basically spilled out into the hallway and the lobby, it made for such a wonderful experience. Considering that both weddings and theatre are communal experiences, I found it very interesting and exciting that they made the audience part of the community of the play as well. It was very amusing to watch the reactions of the older patrons who came in the door, as this was definitely different from the quiet theatre viewing experience they were used to. None the less, I totally enjoyed myself and I wish that every show had this element to it.

My next theatrical adventure will be this week at the Shakespeare Association of America Conference in St. Louis! I can’t wait to share all of my adventures!

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