Five Women Wearing the Same Dress
And the value of student-run theater companies
By: Marley Richmond
“Five Women Wearing the Same Dress,” a play written by Alan Ball, tells the story of five bridesmaids who find refuge from the wedding reception in the bride’s sister’s bedroom. Throughout the evening, the women dive into their troubled pasts, exploring their relationships and sexuality—including topics such as AIDS, abuse, abortion, and infidelity. Eventually, the women realize that none of them truly likes the bride and have more in common with each other than with her. The show’s comedic nature allowed the audience to open up to the more serious topics explored and provided relief from heavy conversations. As sophomore actress Natalee Merola put it, “I think we did a good job of taking the serious moments seriously and giving space to it.” Although Ball’s play premiered in 1993, his words still resonate today and left the audience not only laughing but thinking as well.
In addition to being a thought-provoking comedy, this performance was an opportunity for students of all backgrounds and disciplines to engage in the theatrical process. As an entirely student-run organization, Carved Out Theater provides an opportunity for students to perform outside of University productions and has positions for student directors, stage managers, costume and lighting designers, and more. Merola applauded the supportive, collaborative community of the cast and production team, saying, “We’re learning as we go, and we’re also learning from each other.” In addition to building their comedic acting skills, which Merola said was an important part of the rehearsal process, the group was challenged to navigate different rehearsal and performance spaces, such as The Whole Music Club, where the show was performed. Despite any obstacles, “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress” was an entertaining show with an important message.
Keep an eye out for future productions by Carved Out Theater and other student-run theater companies at the U next year!