Venturing into a realm ripe for ribbing, Ennis Public Theatre takes on the wedding institution in Always a Bridesmaid. Making its world premiere in 2013 at the Runway Theatre in Grapevine, Texas, this play portrays the consummation of prom-night promises made by four friends to always be in the others’ weddings. Little did they know how many times they would end up having to keep those promises.
The entire play is set in the bridal parlor of Laurelton Oaks, a wedding venue in Virginia, where each of the promisors has been married, some of them multiple times. At each wedding, three of the friends are bridesmaids for whoever is getting hitched. Struggling to stage the perfect wedding, the friends endure fistfights at the altar, runaway brides and an unfortunate incident involving the release of white doves on the first day of hunting season.
Libby Ruth Ames, the ever-hopeful romantic who has been happily married the longest, is played by Darla Bicknell. Libby optimistically believes that each of her friends can find the same marital bliss she has attained. In contrast, Monette Gentry (played by Michelle McCollough) is a saucy flirt who goes through husbands like they are desserts at a smorgasbord. Monette’s all-too-frequent trips down the aisle comprise the biggest test of the friends’ love and patience.
The calm and no-nonsense Deedra Wingate, played by Debbie Dominguez, faces challenges of her own when she discovers that her husband has a wandering eye with hands to match. Joan Eppes plays the salt-of-the-earth, tree-hugging Charlie Collins, who discovers that marital bliss is not the end of her rainbow and panics in outrageous style when facing her own nuptials.
Rounding out the cast are Carol Blaha and Kayla Woodson. Carol plays the snobby and quippy Sedalia Ellicott, who runs Laurelton Oaks. Kayla portrays Kari Ames-Bissette, the daughter of Libby Ruth who acts as a sort of narrator of the events as she delivers the bride’s speech at her own wedding.
While careers, waistlines and even marriages may disappear, Always a Bridesmaid stands for the proposition that real friendships last a lifetime. In addition to being a rollicking good time, as Libby Ruth would say, “It’s just all so romantic!”
To get in on all the fun and romance, reserve seats now. Show times are 7:30 pm Fridays and Saturdays, and 2:30 pm Sundays from September 11 through September 27. For reservations, call (972) 878-PLAY (7529), or purchase tickets online at www.ennispublictheatre.com.
J Niswonger loves community theatre and has performed on the Ennis Public Theatre stage.