“This show just seemed to push all the right buttons with me,” said Donnie Bowes, artistic director of Upper Canada Playhouse, “I really liked the idea of a play about interesting people, and about rural people like many of our audiences. I saw Mark Crawford’s Stag and Doe, a play about small town weddings, and the funny challenges they bring, and it appealed to me: I thought it would appeal to Playhouse audiences.”
Stag and Doe, a brand new play, opens at Upper Canada Playhouse on June 11, and runs until July 5. Featuring a cast of six, the comedy is being directed by Bowes on a spectacular set designed by former Playhouse technical director, Sean Free.
The play is built around the wonderful, and hilarious crises that erupt in a small town when a bride and groom from one side of the tracks, due to a wedding tent ‘disaster’ that features pig manure, must suddenly hold their reception at the only town hall on the same day that another engaged couple, (from a different side of the tracks) has scheduled their Stag and Doe party. The comic chaos that ensues will leave audiences in stitches.
“Mark Crawford just seems to have his finger on the pulse of small town life,” laughed Bowes. “You look for humour and conflict in a play, and this show has it all. And it asks some questions about weddings and pre-wedding events that must cross the minds of a lot of couples. Is there such a thing as a ‘perfect wedding,’ really? And is a Stag and Doe held so that friends who aren’t going to attend the actual ceremony can celebrate with the bride and groom, or is it held for the money?”
Entertainingly, two performers are getting to experience a vicarious look at this whole on stage wedding ‘scene’, just as their own special day draws near.
Parris Greaves and Jody Osmond, who play Rob and Mandy in Stag and Doe, will be married this September. For real.
“We actually met here at the Playhouse, doing a show,” Greaves said, “and we’re delighted to be back at UCP with a chance to play a couple on their wedding day. Our characters Mandy and Rob are facing some issues as their wedding gets bigger and bigger, and the whole event seems to be growing more important than what it is supposed to mean.” “That’s not Parris and me, of course,” laughed Osmond.
Cast members create characters who may be very familiar to anyone who has ever been involved in the small town wedding experience. Bonnie (Julia Lederer) and Brad (Zach Counsil), who have the Stag and Doe planned, are also in a kind of “pre-nuptial crisis.”
“Bonnie is very focussed on fixing her financial issues through the Stag and Doe,” said Lederer, “because she has overspent ‘just a little’ on this wedding.”
“Brad, the small town guy, just wanted a nice, simple, reasonable wedding,” said Counsil, “and everything is spiralling out of control. Then they have to deal with this other couple.”
Colleen Sutton is Dee, who is donning bridesmaid’s clothes “for the fifth time, and is getting pretty ‘vexed’ that she has never been the bride. And she may have a bit of history with Mandy’s man.” Jay, the caterer, played by Perry Mucci, isn’t actually marrying anyone, but he’s still got wedding issues of his own. What do you do when your entire staff gets themselves arrested on the day of the wedding, and the wedding cake itself has vanished?
This is a production that is going to demand a lot of the backstage crew as well. With particular sound and props cues scattered throughout the show, costume changes, and food that must be both realistically ‘fake’ some times and realistically edible other times, they are very, very busy in this new show. However, stage manager Liz Campbell, production assistant Tristan Goethel and apprentice stage manager Bradley Dunn will have the action well in hand according to director Bowes. The show is being lit by the theatre’s new technical director, Jenna Robinson.
Stag and Doe, a comic and wonderful look at a slice of small town life, runs at UCP until July 5. For tickets and information contact 613-543-3713 or 1-877-550-3650.