4/11/2013 - Five women wearing bubble-gum pink, lace-trimmed hoop dresses will be squabbling, gossiping and disposing of their too-small powder pink hats come wedding day.
Andrea Stasio, Melanie Rodrigue, Melissa Runde, Meredith Borgioli and Irene Gerakas play bridesmaids in Nashua Theatre Guild’s Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, written by Alan Ball and showing April 18 through April 21. This isn’t quite like last year’s box office hit, Bridesmaids; the biggest difference, said Runde, who plays Trisha, between that funny movie and this funny play is that none of these five bridesmaids care for the woman who made them wear these ugly dresses.
Audiences will, however, enjoy the company of these five women in pink garb, said Mike Wood, the show’s director.
“They’re characters everyone can relate to,” he said during an evening rehearsal last week. “Everyone has known at least one of these women in their life.”
The entire play takes place in bride Tracy’s old bedroom during the wedding reception. The five bridesmaids — Meredith, the nosy, sarcastic younger sister; Georgeanne, Tracy’s “ugly sidekick” from middle school; Trisha, one of Tracy’s former friends who “gets around;” Frances, Tracy’s naive and religious cousin; and Mindy, the groom’s clumsy, outspoken lesbian sister — find refuge in this room from the overdone reception in the backyard.
“For one reason or another, they all find it an insufferable affair,” said Runde. “The wedding is overblown, the dresses are ridiculous.”
But the bridesmaids end up finding bonds with one another.
Those women who have been in a wedding might find the show particularly poignant and funny.
“It’s such an odd situation when you’re a bridesmaid. You’re thrown in a mix of characters you don’t know,” Runde said. “It can be a very awkward and artificial situation, unless they [the bridesmaids] all went to college together. You’re planning showers, giving gifts for this woman you all know, yet, you don’t know one another.”
Wood says that it has more themes than a Lifetime movie, but, Runde says, that’s why it’s so relatable.
“I think every single woman will relate to this. Everyone has felt insecure at some point; every person has had a friend who they’re not sure why they’re friends with them. Everyone has felt insecure about her body or jealous of a friend or sister. There are surprising kinships that come out of the show,” Runde said.
The nearly-all female cast (the one guy is Craig Ciampa) was something board members of the Nashua Theatre Guild were looking for in their spring production to fit the high supply of actresses. Wood liked it because of the strong, female leads.
The actresses liked this, too.
Runde had little difficulty getting into her character.
“She [Trisha] comes across as extremely secure, but you find out that she has a lot of insecurities. I was attracted to her for that reason,” Runde said.
Though her character is, at the same time, very different from her.
“It’s always more fun when it’s a challenge. The reason I do this is to meet great people, which I do, but also to challenge myself and to go outside the life I normally live. That’s what’s fun about it,” Runde said.
Because the entire play takes place in one room, the dialogue has to be tight, the delivery strong. Which Runde says isn’t difficult.
“Alan Ball is brilliant; you become so invested in these women. The dynamic changes as people enter and leave almost like a scene change,” she said. “These women all come from such different places in life, every time you throw two or three together, something is going to happen. The audience catches on very quickly.”
She says it’s the perfect girls night out.
“It’s basically a story about the relationship between women, and why they do the things they do,” Runde said. “I think people will leave nodding their heads, saying ‘Yup, that’s just how it is.’”