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Playgoers staging farce by French playwright

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Richard Amery

Playgoers of Lethbridge is putting on two plays this season often unofficially considered to be related.
French playwright Marc Camoletti’s 1987 French farce “Don’t Dress for Dinner” will be the local, long-standing theatre company’s fall dinner theatre at Country Kitchen in the lower level of The Keg, Oct. 20-24.
It features a talented young cast including Aimée McGurk, Milo Smith, Jeff Charlton, Meredith Pritchard, Mike Rolfe and Chris Peterson, most of whom will be familiar from this year’s Shakespeare in the Park’s summer production of “Much Ado about Nothing.”
It is often considered the prequel to Camoletti’s 1965 French farce “Boing Boing,” which Playgoers will be putting on at the Yates Theatre in February.
“Simply, ‘Don’t Dress For Dinner’ is is about a couples weekend that goes awry,” summarized director Monique Prusky.
“Bernard has invited his mistress (Jacqueline) over and tries to get his wife to leave for the weekend. But his best friend (Robert) comes over, who is sleeping with his (Bernard’s) wife, so she decides to stay. The cook (Suzette) is mistaken for the mistress (Suzanne) and all hell breaks loose,” Prusky added.
“Every time she is asked to do something, she asks for another 200 francs, so she knows what she is worth,” Prusky said.
“It is the unofficial sequel to ‘Boeing, Boeing,’” she said. The male leads in both plays are both named Bernard and Robert.
In addition to a lot of familiar faces from the University of Lethbridge as well as Shakespeare in the Park, the show features Chris Peterson, who has worked backstage for several Playgoers productions, but takes her first Playgoers of Lethbridge starring role in “Don’t Dress For Dinner.”
Recent U of L graduate and Shakespeare in the Park alumni Mike Rolfe has been commuting from Calgary to play Suzette’s husband George.
“I really like farce,” Rolfe said.
“I just graduated and wanted to keep doing drama with Theatre Calgary and Playgoers,” he continued, adding his character is only in the last 10 pages of the play so he only has to commute once or twice a week.
“Monique has been very good about it,” he said.
“The best part of it is being part of the process,” he said, adding they have been working on the production for about a year.
Aimeé McGurk is enjoying playing Bernard’s wife and Robert’s lover Jacqueline.
“Everyone is playing off of everyone else’s lies. She’s kind of a bitch. It is nice to play a character who knows what she wants, but she has no idea what everyone else is doing,” she said
“It’s been a lot of fun. It’s a good time just fooling around,” she added.
“There is a lot going on. It’s a confusing plot. The situation has been taken to the extremes,” McGurk continued.
“It’s nice to see these characters. They get themselves into these situations and have to lie their way out of it,” he said.
“It is hilarious.”
Milo Smith plays Bernard — the catalyst to all of the confusion and deception.
“His best friend comes for the weekend and he is having an affair with Bernard’s wife, so all of the confusion stems from that,” Smith said.
“There are a lot of funny thing happening and there is a lot of witty banter,” Smith added.
“It will be a good time,” he said, adding he hopes people will come away from the show with “sore sides and full stomachs.”
Meredith Pritchard has enjoyed playing Suzette, who has to keep the protagonist Bernard out of trouble as well as keep Bernard’s friend Robert’s affair with Bernard’s wife a secret — for a price.
“She should get an Oscar for her performance,” Pritchard chuckled.
“She’s quite a character. It’s been a challenge, but a fun challenge,” she continued.
She is enjoying working with a talented cast and crew who also know each other very well.
“We are such a very talented group both on the technical and artistic side. So it’s been a blessing,” she continued, adding she hopes people will come out and see the production.
“It’s going to be a well-rounded night of great food and a great time. So come and not only get your belly full, but your spirit as well,” she said.
“Things have gone great. It has been a lot of fun. We get along well so it’s been a really good process,” Prusky said, adding while the play takes place in Paris, there won’t be any accents as the players are going to be expatriated Canadians.
“It’s a great date night idea,“ she said, adding there is no nudity, but it does deal with adult situations so she recommended the show for 16 and up.
“It is about having affairs, after all,” she continued.
“I hope we get lots of people to come out. It’s going to be a really fun night out at the theatre with food,” she enthused.
The three-course dinner will be supplied by Country Kitchen.
Cocktails are at 6 p.m., dinner is served at 6:30 with the performance following. Tickets cost $50.

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