MORRISBURG – What bride doesn’t dream of the perfect wedding with the solemn ceremony, the lovely dresses and the wonderful reception?
Alas, a ‘dream’ is all that bride-to-be Courtney Coleman may get in the new comedy, One Slight Hitch, opening at Upper Canada Playhouse on August 3.
This third production of the Playhouse season was written by American Lewis Black, who is well known on the late night circuit for his comedic ‘rants’ during guest appearances on comedy shows like Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show.
“This is a funky little script,” laughed Playhouse artistic director, Donnie Bowes, who is also directing the production. “It’s set in the 1980s, and basically it’s a form of sit-com. It revolves around a family wedding: Lewis Black himself may be the character of Ryan.
Black is a comedian known as a social critic, one who digs into issues like family life, puberty, marriage. As a comic, his style involves getting frustrated and losing his cool. In One Slight Hitch, Black is using farce techniques to tell his story, ratcheting his characters into frustrating situations.”
Courtney Coleman’s parents have planned the perfect, huge wedding for her and Yuppie fiancé, Harper, the big wedding that Doc and Delia never had. The guest list is extensive: however, it definitely does not include the bride’s ne’er-do-well ex-boyfriend, Ryan. His sudden and very unexpected appearance sets off a chain of hilarity in the stressed out Coleman household.
One Slight Hitch brings together a strong cast, some of whom have played at Upper Canada before, some of whom are new to the Morrisburg Playhouse.
Kate Egan Veinotte, familiar to Playhouse audiences from Steel Magnolias last season, as well as Drinking Alone and The Affections of May, returns as Delia, the mother. (“My only chance to play a bride’s mother as I have three sons,” the actor laughed). Her Delia will struggle mightily to keep control of the situations collapsing around her.
Garfield Andrews is Doc, the father of three daughters, and all that involves. Andrews is well known to audiences from such shows as Whose Wives Are They Anyway? and The Sensuous Senator.
Also returning to the Playhouse is Allan Cooke, who last entertained crowds in There’s A Burglar in My Bed, and The Gentleman Clothier. He describes his Ryan, the ex-boyfriend, as a “force of nature, who manages to spoil everything.”
Ryan Jacobs, who was in the Playhouse’s A Christmas Carol, returns as the groom-to-be, Harper. “He’s kind of an Alex P. Keaton type (Michael J. Fox’s character in Family Ties) very confident, who finds himself in a world of shenanigans,” Jacobs laughed.
Also returning, following her Playhouse debut in Steel Magnolias, is Alison Mackay, who plays P.B., one of the bride’s sisters. “My character, who carries a Walkman, sets the scene for the play, introducing the ‘day when all changed,’” Mackay explained.
New to Upper Canada Playhouse are Taylor Trowbridge, playing the bride-to-be, who is “in a word, confused.”
Also debuting in this production is Brianne Tucker, who describes her character Melanie, the bride’s other sister, as a “lover of chaos” who tends to spend a lot of time “by the drink cart.”
“We’ve done a number of shows over the years concerning weddings,” said director Bowes. “including Stag and Doe and Maggie’s Getting Married. Lewis Black’s script definitely has moments of farce, but it is not a traditional farce like say Boeing Boeing.
He has points he wants to make, and he is a political comedian. One Slight Hitch is nostalgic and ironic both at the same time.”
The cast agrees that the play is definitely a grown-up comedy.
“Black can be biting and sarcastic, and that comes through in some of the dialogue. There’s some ‘flippant rudeness’ as people try desperately to be civil on a wedding day,” Bowes added. “When the gloves come off, people bite each other.”
“Well, mostly me,” said actor Allan Cooke, deadpan, breaking up the cast and the press conference.
One Slight Hitch, a comedy by Lewis Black, runs at Upper Canada Playhouse from August 3-27. Contact the box office at 613-543-3713 for tickets and information.