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Pine Tree Players production gets a second life

“It’s exciting to finally have the chance to perform this play in front of an audience. It almost feels like we’ve been rehearsing for a year since we started in January.”

CANMORE – If you’re feeling nostalgic about the '90s, let Pine Tree Players transport you back to the decade where the Cold War came to an end and the Internet got its start.

The company’s latest production, Five Women Wearing The Same Dress, is a dramedy set in the 1990s and features an almost women-only cast.

“It’s set in the '90s, so it’s kind of a travel back in time for a lot of people, which is really fun,” said director of the play Lauren Hawkeye.

“It’s a comedy, but it dives into a lot more serious topics. In this play, we are looking at these issues in the '90s through a 2020 lens. We talk about AIDS, homosexuality and we give these topics the respect they deserve, because we have learned to become more accepting while still being true to the way things were back then.”

Production of the play started with auditions in December 2019, and it was supposed to premiere in April of this year. However, the pandemic caused production to grind to a screeching halt.

“It’s exciting to finally have the chance to perform this play in front of an audience," said Chezlene Kocian, who plays Tricia the commitment-phobic beauty. "It almost feels like we’ve been rehearsing for a year, since we started in January.”

With the production on pause between March to September, the cast and crew are excited to return to the stage, especially since the future of the play was unknown when the pandemic first hit.

Brian McDonald, the only gentleman in the play, agreed with Kocian’s sentiment.

“Satisfying. I don’t know if there is another word to describe the feeling," said McDonald, who plays Tripp Davenport. "We weren’t sure if it was going to go on and it’s so great to get back into it and have the opportunity to perform live.”

The one-room play follows five bridesmaids as they find refuge in the room of the sister of the bride at a wedding, which none of them want to be at.

As the only male in the cast, McDonald said there is a different energy compared to a cast where there is more of a balance between men and women.

“Brian, the poor guy had to put up with us women for so long," said Michelle Monk, who plays Georgeanne, the hot mess. "It’s less balanced than your typical play, but the great thing about this play is, it gives each of us our own time to shine.”

Hawkeye said back in December, they were blessed with many talented people coming out to audition. It allowed the casting to be picky – not just about who was talented, but about who was right for each part.

“I can’t speak enough about all the talent in the room. Sometimes you almost have to rein it in,” said Hawkeye with a laugh.

Hawkeye said audition turnout for plays in the Bow Valley can be close to 90 per cent women, so choosing to do a play that is female-driven was important to her.

The play will run from Nov. 18-28 at the Canmore Miners’ Union Hall and will also be streamed online.

For those attending the live performance, Pine Tree Players will be implementing a number of health and safety measures⁠.

The physically distanced audience will be capped at 55 people with two meters between seated groups.⁠ Guests will be asked to wash their hands upon entry and to wear masks when not seated.  

“We are just so enthusiastic about opening again and our cast and crew, volunteers and audience members health is our number one priority," Hawkeye said. "We are fortunate to be able to be a part of the art science here in the valley and we want people to enjoy the arts safely.”

Visit pinetreeplayers.com for tickets to the play and more information about the health and safety measures.



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Evan Buhler

About the Author: Evan Buhler

Evan Buhler is an award-winning photojournalist and reporter who joined the Outlook in 2019. A native of Calgary, he previously worked in Salmon Arm, B.C.
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