MORRISBURG – Director Donnie Bowes likes to “mix things up” in a season. Following the run of the Playhouse’s hit opening show, Where You Are, he is bringing audiences an outrageous, hilarious new production with Marc Camoletti’s (with Robin Hawdon) classic farce, Don’t Dress For Dinner.
Don’t Dress For Dinner, directed by Bowes, runs at Upper Canada Playhouse July 4-28.
“Throw in some misconceptions, some misunderstandings, one or more people making really bad decisions, and then commandeering their friends to bail them out, and you’ve got all the ingredients of farce,” Bowes explained at a June 28 press conference. The six characters in Don’t Dress For Dinner “play ordinary people under huge pressure, and it all adds up to great fun for the audience,” he said.
Farce, perhaps more than other styles of comedy, demands a great deal of its actors “Every craft of the acting profession must be used,” Bowes explained. “Pace, movement, timing, physical strength are just a few of the demands.”
Fortunately Bowes has assembled a strong and versatile cast, who will be more than up to the challenges of this riotous, romantic romp.
Garfield Andrews is Bernard, who sets the plot in motion by trying to arrange an assignation with his mistress while his wife Jacqueline is away. In the process he conscripts his hapless friend Robert (Perry Mucci) to “cover” for him.
Nothing involved in Bernard’s “romantic little rendezvous” will go as planned right from the outset.
Wife Jacqueline (Anita Las Selva) unexpectedly returns, and mistress Suzanne (Stephanie Folkins) finds that this is definitely not the dinner party she was expecting. Toss in Suzette the cook and her burly boyfriend George, and let the cover-ups, conniving and craziness begin.
“The comedy in this show is really in the wordplay,” said actor Garfield Andrews. “The audience actually knows more about what’s going on than the actors do. They’re often laughing in anticipation.”
“There’s a really strong pace to this production,” added Perry Mucci. “It really moves.”
“The audience gets to see crazy physical action and verbals,” said Donnie Bowes. “A farce like this is highly entertaining summer fare.”
Many of the cast have appeared in other Upper Canada Playhouse productions, and are thrilled to be back in Morrisburg at this theatre.
“We get treated like royalty here,” said Stephanie Folkins, “This really is an insanely wonderful community,” she laughed.
“This is actually my 18th season at the Playhouse,” said AnnaMarie Lea, “and I think of the Playhouse people as my second family. I love this play.”
Anita La Selva also sees Upper Canada Playhouse and Morrisburg as “coming home. I am thrilled to be here. I am often cast in some “heavy” plays, so it is fun to do a farce like this.”
Newcomer Mark Burgess is also enjoying his debut at UCP.
“This is a great company to be working with, and a beautiful theatre.”
The set for Don’t Dress For Dinner, a house renovated from a barn, both “rustic and chic” was designed and built by Jim Smagata. It is also a sturdy set, as, in classic farce, there is a lot of fast-paced action, “and we don’t want anything to collapse,” laughed director Bowes.
The costumes for the production were specially created for each of the actors by award winning designer Alex Amini of Toronto.
Tickets are on sale now.