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‘Five Women Wearing the Same Dress’

Renee Sogueco, ‘Doah Staff Writer
February 12, 2014

'Doah photo courtesy of Shenandoah Conservatory Performances

‘Doah photo courtesy of Shenandoah Conservatory Performances

“Five Women Wearing the Same Dress,” written by Alan Ball, brought “five very different women” together in a show that brought the audience to tears and laughter in one sitting. The set design, thought of by director Jonathan Flom and Christopher Ham, created a simplistic setting, and the Glaize Studio Theatre allowed intimacy with the performers and the audience. As a black box theater, the Glaize allows viewers to get up close and personal with each of the actors and actresses’ facial expressions and actions, and all were faced with at one time or another with clouds of cigarette smoke and with a flash of breasts. These, of course, were not the main reasons why I stayed engaged with the entirety of the play.

Before the show even began, I perused through the playbill in order to pass time and found the director’s notes to be most interesting. Flom prepares the audience mentally for the social and psychological issues that would be brought up. Before the play started, upbeat 80’s music kept people entertained, and it felt, to me, as though I was in for a comedy show instead of dark truths. I strayed away from my questioning thoughts that would later come back to me as the play progressed. The play itself did not seem to have a progressive story so much as progressing characters. In the main plotline, the characters are bridesmaids to an attractive, well-to-do and society-obeying bride. While overall I enjoyed the show, I was left wanting closure, but I learned important truths with such colorful and vivid characters.

As each girl was brought out, there was no question as to what kind of character each possessed. In the beginning, I saw the surface stereotypes that anyone can see in dozens of Hollywood films, but once it continued on, I began to see multifaceted women with flaws and perfections. Most importantly, each represented a type of strength and principle that any person can admire. They contrasted each other beautifully, and yet, they seemed similar in the sense that they hate any traps of stereotypes. The actresses and lone actor captivated me with their performances, and none of which seemed scripted, each deeply engulfed in one character. Each character presented characteristics and flaws that are extremely relatable whether we wanted to admit it or not. While the play was entertaining and heartwarming, it brought up real questions we ask ourselves in our minds but rarely in conversation.

The main cast featured Lizzie Hinton as Meredith, Tess Marshall as Trisha, RK Herbst as Georgeanne, Claire Wittman as Francis, Meg Stefanowicz as Mindy, and Matt Miller as Tripp. Behind the scenes, Clem Trott stage-managed and was assisted by Kaila McCourt; Maranda Rossi was in charge of costume design; and Chris Ham took control of lighting and sound. The play ran Feb. 7, 8, and 9.

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