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Play offers fast-paced comedy

Rare Form Theatre launches Don't Dress for Dinner

By: Anna Borowiecki

  |  Posted: Saturday, Feb 08, 2014 06:00 am

STATE OF UNDRESS – The cast of Don't Dress for Dinner is (left to right): Candice Jwaszko, Nathan Slater, Lisa Whitson, Christian Stannard, Ben Hunting, Emma Mann.
STATE OF UNDRESS – The cast of Don't Dress for Dinner is (left to right): Candice Jwaszko, Nathan Slater, Lisa Whitson, Christian Stannard, Ben Hunting, Emma Mann.
Supplied photo

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Don’t Dress for Dinner
Rare Form Theatre
Feb. 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Dow Centennial Centre’s Shell Theatre
Fort Saskatchewan
Tickets: $18. Visit

If your theatrical poison of choice is comedy, a fast-paced bedroom romp may be the best partner for the Valentine’s Day weekend.

Don’t Dress for Dinner, a production of Rare Form Theatre, is a boulevard comedy that first ran in Paris for nearly two years under the title Pyjamas Pour Six.

A spoof on traditional bed hopping, this series of wacky situations created by contemporary playwright Marc Camelotti pushes the boundaries of amour.

“It’s like Three’s Company. In Three’s Company, it was all situational comedy and so much of the play is like that,” says Paul Kane French immersion science teacher Candice Jwaszko.

She auditioned and landed the role of the sexy Suzanne.

Not far from Paris, Bernard wants to send his wife Jacqueline to visit her mother. He has also invited his mistress Suzanne, a Parisian model, for a romantic weekend. He also hired Suzette, a Cordon Bleu chef, to cook the loving couple a meal.

In addition, Bernard invited his best friend Robert over as an alibi. While the covert plans are underway, Robert calls. Jacqueline answers the phone and from the discussion, it is obvious they too are lovers.

Smothered affection, simple mix-ups, mistaken identity and drunken declarations create a domino effect of confusion as the house is turned upside down.

Paul Kane drama instructor Lisa Whitson and Fort Saskatchewan actor-director Christian Stannard first established Rare Form Theatre in 2008 as a way for young adults to continue developing their skills after high school.

The duo initially acted together through Fort Saskatchewan’s Sheeptown Players. Discovering shared interests, they forged an alliance. To date, they have produced a varied body of work ranging from children’s plays, period pieces, classics and situation comedy.

Today the core group rests with Stannard, Whitson, Nathan Salter and Paul Kane graduate Mallory Hawkes.

The foursome scoured the Theatre Alberta Library’s 1500-script bank for suggestions and realized Don’t Dress for Dinner was a seamless fit for Rare Form.

“We wanted something new and different,” says Stannard. “This is a very chaotic play. It’s fast-paced and there’s lots of room for comedy. I knew it would be a challenge but why not try it?”

Stannard, who both directs and carries the role of Robert, finds humour carries over from the chaos.

“From the director’s chair, it’s very high energy and confusing, but the truth comes out as we go through the play.”

As for the relationships and romantic trysts that backfire, he adds, “We take it way too seriously. We need to take things less seriously. I don’t mean to be flippant about cheating, but let’s just relax and enjoy the play for what it is.”

“Bottom line, it’s a funny play and maybe you can learn something about human relationships and how we work together.”

Don’t Dress for Dinner runs Feb. 14 and 15 at Dow Centennial Centre’s Shell Theatre in Fort Saskatchewan.


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