Spring is in full flower on Bell Court, with trees boasting white, pink and purple buds, lush green grass on the lawns and in the park behind the Bell House, a popular venue for wedding celebrations with its stately structure and the natural beauty surrounding it.
So it made perfect sense for Bell Court's resident community theater troupe, Studio Players, to produce Robin Hawdon's Perfect Wedding for May, even if the play is ironically titled.
"Bill wakes up in the bridal suite, and it's the day of his wedding, and there's a gal in bed beside him. He doesn't know who she is, how she got there or what happened," director Gary Anderson says. "And he realizes that his bride-to-be is on the way to the suite to get ready for the wedding.
"It kind of goes from there. The lies get deeper and deeper, slamming doors, an over-the-top mother of the bride. It's a perfect wedding."
Alex Maddox, who plays frazzled groom Bill, says, "I tell people it's this perfect mix of The Hangover and some sort of romantic comedy. It reminds me so much of The Hangover, where you start with how it ended and then you have to recall everything back."
Complicating matters is that, Judy, the woman in bed with the groom, isn't just anyone: She's the girlfriend of Tom, the best man, who was planning to propose to her that night. But, it turns out, Judy and Bill had an amazing night together, and she can't let it go.
"My character is having to deal with this thing of following your heart, yet it's messing up people's lives," says Stephanie Wyatt, who plays Judy.
She says the play is a farce, but it addresses real questions, including finding true love versus settling on someone because it's time, and sharing genuine emotions versus deferring to the occasion.
"All the characters in this have hearts," Wyatt says. "There's no evil character or archnemesis, so you have these really good people trying to deal with this crazy situation."
It does get crazy.
As the day progresses, the hotel maid gets involved in the ruse as well as best man Tom, who, for a long time, does not realize his best friend's wedding eve tryst was with his girlfriend.
"They always say that doors are a huge characteristic of farces, and this one takes that to the max," says Maddox. "There are several scenes where I am going through doors or hiding behind doors to escape my girlfriend and Tom, who for some of the play is wielding a knife threatening to cut off the reproductive organ of whoever this is that's sleeping with his girlfriend."
That organ gets different names every night, as do other things in the show, which Hawdon has given actors and directors written permission to change. The play is a British farce, though McCormick is setting this production is the American South, so part of the reason for allowing alterations is to make cultural references, like the names of cereals or euphemisms for body parts, relevant.
"Gary chose not only a good script but a good cast for that," Wyatt says.
"This ensemble cast has amazing comedic actors, and I feel like I've played with some of the best comedic actors in the land," says Wyatt, who has studied with comedy troupes including Second City in Chicago and The Groundlings in Los Angeles. "This is a true ensemble piece because, if one link falls, you will see the domino effect."
Of course, the real challenge in the show is that some very strong bonds are broken, and the play still has to find its way to a happy ending.
Rich Copley: (859) 231-3217. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @copiousnotes.