By Jacob Bila
On Saturday, October 30th, the Five Towns College Theatre Arts Division presented their second production of the Fall 2021 semester, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress. Directed by Dr. David Krasner, FTC’s Chair of Acting and Theatre, the play was presented in the college’s smaller studio theatre, with the set staged as a woman’s bedroom. At 7:30 PM, an audio recording of Krasner’s voice greeted the audience, the lights dimmed, and the show began with all five leading actresses singing in unison.
Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, originally written for the stage by Alan Ball, takes place in the bedroom of one of the bridesmaids, Meredith, during her sister’s wedding reception. The five bridesmaids enter and exit the bedroom throughout the play, discussing relationships, sex, religious views, wealth, and society’s expectations for them. As the wedding reception proceeds outside the bedroom, they all continue to realize they have more in common with each other than with Meredith’s sister, Tracey, the bride.
The story of this play is driven by its strong performers. The dialogue fleshes out the characters, and the comedic and dramatic skills presented make their characters stand out. Meredith is played by Chrystle Stewart, who brings a strong and stubborn attitude to her character, and has lived in the shadow of her sister. Frances, played by Kiana Wilson, humorously embraces her devotion to her Christian religion and inexperience with relationships. Trisha, played by Peyton Brown, has had her fill of men, and strives not to be validated by her relationship status. Mindy, played by Alisa Shapo, is Meredith’s soon-to-be sister-in-law, whose ease with her sexuality is apparent as is her desire for the group to have fun. Georgeanne, played by Alyssa Santiago, struggles to accept how toxic her relationship with a former lover has become. And Dick Cortese plays the only male character in the show, Tripp, who appears near the end and flirts with Trisha.
The set design of the play was so simple yet so powerful. The entire show takes place in Meredith’s bedroom, designed to evoke the character’s status and personality, built entirely in the studio theatre. Many shades of pink, white, red, and light purple colored the small set. It was initially surprising that the show was done in a smaller room compared to the larger auditorium, yet it created a more intimate viewing experience.
Viewing this play was an entertaining experience that just shows the powerful talent at Five Towns College, from the acting to the set design, direction and audio. It’s always fun to watch the cast bring life to characters and their situations. Perhaps the show would still have had the same intimate effect if done for a larger audience in the theatre, but Dr. David Krasner’s direction always has a reason to move you.