Inside Curtain Players
Posted: February 5, 2017
Got Rehearsal? Stage Blood Thicker Than Water
By Laura Dachenbach
Clutching an old press photo as I head toward the theatre, I wonder, "It's been so long. Will she remember me?"
Rehearsal is in progress for Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, and there she is: Alli Loeffert, who played my younger sister Tillie when we both made our Curtain Players debuts in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds twenty years ago.
And of course she remembers me. She remembers everything: the photo shoot, the seizure, the rabbit, my sweater that was never quite tight enough, her nail polish oops. Community theatre has an uncanny ability to create family from strangers.
Being a bridesmaid can have this same unintended collegial effect as well. Five Women Wearing the Same Dress tells the story of five bridesmaids who bond with each other as they discover they have more in common with each other than they do with the bride.
Where does this bond start? For Loeffert and Sharifa Andrews, it started with sharing rides to rehearsals. Then it evolved to sharing jokes on stage. Colleen Underwood thinks that exploring similarities and differences between self and character with other people is a naturally intimate thing to do. Aaron Long feels familiarity with his female cast mates from being a brother to four sisters.
Five Women rotates around a ritual celebratory event, and so community theatre creates seasons of ritual: the coming together, the sharing, the imprint of memories. I'm talking to five people who quite possibly might never have met, but now through that ritual, they will have something to share twenty years from now.