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‘Five Women Wearing the Same Dress’ debuts at Rex Mathis Auditorium


“Five Women Wearing the Same Dress” opens at Rex Mathis Auditorium in West Des Moines on Sept. 28 and runs through Oct. 13. Space is limited. Tickets are $15 available at
Story by Alan Ball
Directed by Thomas D. Perrine
Produced by Tallgrass Theat

From the darkly comedic mind of Alan Ball (two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter of “American Beauty” and “Towelhead”) comes a play that will warm the faces of giggling women and blushing men in the cozy Rex Mathes Auditorium this fall.

“Five Women Wearing the Same Dress” comes in perfect time for one of the most popular seasons for nuptial ceremonies — and what life event is more deserving of a little satire, especially when it’s “funny cuz it’s true.” At first glance, it appears comparable to the movie “Bridesmaids,” as it features quirky, exaggerated characters whom comprise the bride’s best ladies. But key differences set “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress” uniquely apart. For one, audiences never get to meet the bride — the star of the ceremony and her groom are mentioned enough throughout the dialogue of the story to make their phantom characters develop, but the real story lies with the line-up of ladies in the bride’s corner… or are they? As any woman knows, often when your back is turned, the cats’ claws come out.

“She’s a rich, white, Republican bitch,” says the bride’s own sister, Meredith (Rebekah Boyd) after unwinding with a post-ceremony doobie in her bedroom where the entire play is set. Throughout the story, the women are introduced one by one into the “hideout” bedroom, each escaping the wedding reception for her own individual reasons: sassy Meredith in search of a joint she’d been saving; depressed Georgeanne (Bailey Dean) because her ex-lover brought a hot date; the “good Christian” and overly-sheltered Frances (Katelyn McBurney) because she doesn’t know anybody at the party; the clumsy lesbian Mindy (Lauren Kacere) who can’t seem to get one foot in front of the other in those heals; and the loves-to-hate-love Trisha (Preshia Paulding) who slept with almost everyone in attendance.

While each of the characters contributes her own element of “crazy” to the collective plot, they also have individual stories that unfold through confessional conversations, snarky remarks about the bride and groom and reflections into their respective lives and pasts. It all builds to a point of realization that triggers growth, compromise and enlightenment to which all women — and men, for that matter — can relate.

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“I think you can go to any wedding and see some of these women there,” said director Thomas D. Perrine. “The story may be predominately for women, but this is not a ‘chick flick’ per se. Men will certainly laugh, too,” as the story pokes fun at women as much as it does love, marriage and weddings.

The fact that the first 15 minutes of the play involves the emerging characters each looking for something — rummaging through an oversized purse, a jewelry box, an adjoining bathroom — is so fitting that Ball had to either have grown up with a lot of sisters or is inherently in touch with his own femininity in order to keep so true to female mores. And the one-liners delivered by Trisha and Meredith will leave jaws dropping in laughter at every show.

“Find me a man who is good looking, straight and has job,” Meredith challenges.

To which the seasoned slut Trisha replies, “Honey, maybe you should lower your expectations.” CV

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