‘Five Women’ makes you laugh

By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Register Reporter

Register/Richard Luken
Paige Schauf as Mindy offers Desiree Mason as Georgeanne a joint in Allen County Community College’s production of “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress.” Lindsey Jarvis, behind them, is Trisha, a jaded gal who’s had almost every man at the wediding, but never loved a-one.

Allen County Community College’s production of “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress” by Alan Ball is a laugh-out-loud romp through the lives of five bridesmaids all relating their lack of luck in the world of love.
The bride, who is never seen, is supposed to be the golden girl among them. Her younger sister Meredith, played by Nachele Gonsalez, has always walked in her sister’s shadow.
Indeed, the stage set — Meredith’s bedroom — was her sister’s not so very long ago.
Aside from a single wall with a few incongruous posters, the room is perfectly peach. It could be any girl’s room from ages 13 to 30.
The only one who hates it is Meredith, who flaunts her leather jacket, hard rock music and edgy posters as a pennant of difference.

IT IS INTO this scene, in which a flock of flamingos could stalk through unnoticed, that walk the five disgruntled bridesmaids.
Dressed in southern country frilly peach frocks with outlandish straw hats on their heads, the women all seek out the bedroom as a refuge from the party going on downstairs.
First in is Savannah Haner as shy Frances, who speaks, like the Muppet Grover, without contractions.
“I do not smoke cigarettes,” she tells Meredith, who offers one. “I am a Christian.”
Third up is Trisha, the brassy “loose woman” of the group played with aplomb by Lindsey Jarvis.
“I looked out during the ceremony and I think half the men there I must have slept with,” she tells her friends. Trisha has never been ashamed of her behavior, though she admits she has never known “love.”
The women gossip about the bride’s poor taste in hats, in dresses and in treatment of her husband.
While referencing a man, Tommy Valentine, that all of them — save virginal Frances — have shared, his greatest casualty walks in.
Georgeanne, in her mid-thirties and with a failing marriage, walks in sotted and sobbing.
“I was walking down the aisle and the first thing I saw was the back of his head. Those two little points where his hair comes together on the back of his neck,” she weeps. She is a wreck, perfectly played by Desiree Mason.
Valentine was, Georgeanne says, “the best sex I ever had.” She sees him as a representation of her lost youth and beauty.
This is a woman, Trisha points out, not in love but obsessed. When Georgeanne retorts she is hurt, Trisha tells her, no, “You’re being really dramatic and self-indulgent.”
Enter into the mix Mindy. Paige Schauf plays the totally together lesbian sister of the groom.
While preceding whispers might lead one to believe Mindy will be a butch dyke, she is actually a product of charm school, which she loved.
“Those girls are better than drag queens,” she tells the shocked women. “Hell, they ARE drag queens!”
When asked why she ditched the reception, she replies, “Why would I go out there? It’s just the same old relatives who’ve been embarrassed by me my entire life.”

ACT II begins with the women musing on “how makeup is always named after food” while giving Frances a glam makeover so she can flirt with the bald bartender, whom she has taken a shine to.
“He offered me a drink, but I told him I do not drink. I am a Christian,” she conspiratorially tells the other girls.
Throughout we learn of the tangled lives of the characters, their influences on each other and the impact made on them all by Tommy Valentine.
The play, though labeled “for mature audiences” is not raunchy.
It is more a matter of content topics that made Director Terri Piazza add the designation.
“It’s like PG-13,” she said, noting her family had seen “Yes Man” recently and found its language much worse.
Granted, though, Piazza cut most of the “f-bombs and G-Ds” out of the play’s script, she said.
Their lack doesn’t harm the performance.
Indeed, the audience was bursting forth in laughter throughout the performance.
The dialogue is current, the story universal.
Who hasn’t been scorned by the one they love? Who hasn’t been afraid to love deeply?
That these women find a bond through their common experiences shows that even a failed romance can have a redeeming side.