Imagine the most cringe-worthy possible start to a wedding day and you just might be thinking of the starting point for Drayton Entertainment’s latest farce, Perfect Wedding.
“This is probably the most delightful two hours of theatre you’re going to spend,” said director Wade Lynch. “It’s a very silly, very physical comedy that is about what happens when the groom of the wedding party wakes up in the morning next to the wrong woman. It’s the morning of his wedding and he has to remedy the consequences of his actions from the night before.”
Lynch says he chose to direct this play because playwright Robin Hawdon is a well-respected farceur, noting that Perfect Wedding is a situational comedy with all the elements of farce, but with room for contemporary modern references and a good dose of slapstick humour.
“I am a director who really loves slapstick and physical comedy, and this script just allows for so much of that. Every other minute there’s a physical element.”
After the groom, Bill, played by Tyler Check, gets out of bed, the story launches and he enlists the help of his unhelpful best man, Tom (Justin Bott), to sort out who his mysterious bed partner might be, and keep the truth away from his betrothed Rachel, played by Rebecca Gibian.
The mystery woman, named Judy, is played by Emma Rudy, and the cast is rounded out with Julie the chambermaid, played by Gabi Epstein, and the bride’s mother, Daphne, played by Mary Harvey.
Lynch says the element of time is also a critical component of the show, since the play happens in real-time and the story unfolds before the audience in about two hours.
“So the pressure of a wedding is quadrupled by the fact that now the clock is ticking,” he said. “But the challenge of this play is to make you care about the story and about the characters, because it’s really easy to get people to laugh at physical comedy: a pie in the face is a pie in the face is a pie in the face – it’s all funny. But in this, you have to care. You have to worry for the poor bride-to-be who has been cuckolded, which she doesn’t know. And the groom, we have to like him, we have to care about what happens to him. So in order to make this story work, we have to find ways as actors and as theatre artists to make the situation real enough. That clock is ticking.”
Lynch first began his career with Drayton Entertainment in 1998. Since then, he’s broadened his horizons into directing, and this is his third directing stint with the company.
He says for Perfect Wedding he decided to give lots of imaginative space to his actors.
“I really believe in the collaborative process,” he said. He asked them to populate their characters with a story and background, blocked out the movement of the play and added some meat with the actor’s comic talents, while ensuring his vision as a director came through.
“We bring all this talent together and everybody brings their own ingredients to bake this comic wedding cake.”
He’s particularly excited about how the group decided to set the play in the mid-1990s Britain, the time and place it was originally written.
“We’re completely committed to this, so that when people step into the theatre, the St. Jacobs Schoolhouse, they see that the set looks like a wedding suite you would see from the late-90s, early-2000s. The clothes reflect that, the language reflects that.
“We had the option to modernize it and change locations, but we all agreed that, ‘No, you know what, this really works best in its own original context. So let’s place it outside London, England, with people who have money, use their genuine accents, and use the real context.’”
He’s also excited about working with someone he calls his secret weapon, actress Mary Harvey, who also teaches theatre at Bishops University in Quebec. She was able to help the rest of the crew with their accents.
“We can use Mary to improve the language and the accents of every actor, and it just reflects in the show so much, because language plays a really important part in the story.”
Although it is a farce, the story also explores the issue of class structure, and the characters’ accents play a large part in that, said Lynch.
Perfect Wedding is playing now until August 27 at the St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre. Information on tickets can be found at www.draytonentertainment.com or by calling the box office at 519-747-7788.
Lynch notes the show is ideal as people look to get back out for some shared entertainment options.
“This is a laugh-out-loud return to enjoying your fellows in a common venue. To be out in the public with people, where they can share belly laughs together,” said Lynch.
“Everybody loves a wedding. Everybody loves a good time. But [watching] a wedding fall apart and rebuild itself is out-of-this-world entertainment.”