Theatre Preview: Dress learns to share women

By Sherri Shergill

If you’ve ever been a member of a wedding party, you know it’s not nearly as fascinating as it appears. There are the fights, drama, duties and of course the shockingly repulsive outfits. Don’t feel like you are alone though, because these are also the circumstances the characters in the Pumphouse Theatres production of Five Women in One Dress find themselves in.

The play revolves around five identically dressed bridesmaids whose only bond is their shared hatred for their dresses and the bride who chose them. While the five women are hiding out during the lavish wedding reception they discover something utterly astonishing: themselves. For the benefit of men everywhere it should be pointed out this play is not about self discovery or a life changing epiphany, nor is it about women’s rights and girl power. Five Women in the Same Dress simply strips away the superficialities of life and gives audiences a chance to get to know their neighbour, professor, mother or friend.

“Everybody knows one of these people in their lives or has been one of these people,” explains director Tanya Heschel. “Each one of the characters shows the different archetypes of people found out there in the world.”

Premiering in 1993 and written by Alan Ball, the Academy Award winning writer of American Beauty and creator of Six Feet Under, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress is a dramatic comedy examining the importance and spirit of today’s conventional woman. By bringing the play to Calgary, Heschel hopes audiences see the relevance to current women and relate to each of the five characters as well as appreciate the incredible script.

“We would have been crazy to pass this up because it’s such a good script,” exclaims Heschel.

Beginning from established stereotypes, Ball challenges society’s preconceived thoughts of what makes a woman a woman and proves there is more to a person than the category into which they are placed.

“Some of the topics that it touches on are serious and current. People will get an eye opening to what women really talk about when it’s just them. It shows what women really are,” Heschel remarks. “Yes, it’s a drama, but it’s a comedy at the same time.”

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress is a realistic portrayal of five vastly different individuals who develop beneficial and valuable relationships within the two hours they get to know each other. At first sight, none of these five women share much in common, but find themselves understanding each others point of views and bonding over similar sentiments.

“The friendships develop quite complexly, like any other relationship,” describes Heschel. “It doesn’t matter who we are or where we come from. We are all trying to be as happy as we can and we should support each others’ decisions even if we don’t agree with them.”


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