Sara Hastings is a single lawyer in New York who has no interest in getting married, but her Aunt Martha isn’t planning on giving her much of a choice.
Many Hats Theatre Company explores the wacky plot of the New York comedy Getting Sara Married by Sam Bobrick premiering at the Cannery Stage Feb. 12.
Colleen Fox is taking on the lead role of Sara Hastings and has been looking to do a comedy after her last time on stage in a more dramatic project with the Summerland Singers and Players in Almost, Maine, which went to the Okanagan Zone (O-Zone) Drama Festival held in Vernon.
“It was time for me to do a comedy,” Fox said.
Fox’s character isn’t the craziest in the plot, that title likely goes to aunt Martha, but a lot of the humour comes out of the quick back-and-forth dialogue in the script, said Fox.
“The comedy comes in the action of it, as well as the interaction between the other characters and the quick words between them,” Fox said.
Martin Pedersen will be playing the role of hired goon Noogie Malloy in his third production with Many Hats. It’s also the third play in as many months for the theatre enthusiast including Soundstage Productions’ Sweeney Todd and the recent production of Chronicles of Narnia in December at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.
Malloy, an “expert bonker,” is hired by Aunt Martha to bring her choice for Sara’s husband-to-be, Brandon Cates (played by Vance Potter), back to Sara’s apartment unconscious.
The character is familiar territory for Pedersen, having previously played the rough and tumble Uncle Louie in Many Hats’ production of Lost in Yonkers. Pedersen said Louie is a similar character to Malloy with a tough, New Yorker flair.
“Another New York accent that I relished in doing,” Pedersen said.
He gleefully switches in and out of character backstage during rehearsal, sporting the stereotypical New “Yawk” accent.
“I’m not a bad guy, but I’m not squeaky clean,” Pedersen said in character.
Hiring Malloy to do the dirty work is the driver of much of the plot, Aunt Martha, played by Jeanne Wnuk.
“I was asked to play Aunt Martha. They thought it would be a good role for me because I’m a bit nuts,” Wnuk laughed.
The role of the crazy aunt is one Wnuk is looking forward to bringing to the stage.
“Character parts are the best parts to work with,” Wnuk said.
She didn’t have to delve to deep to get into some method acting.
“It helps if you are crazy already,” Wnuk laughed. “The accent helps. The actions she does in the play give you some reason to move around and get really crazy in those parts.”
Another fan of the fun accent, Wnuk finds it leaks over into her regular conversations away from the stage when talking to friends.
Director Jamie Eberle feels similarly perfect for the part, as he has always had a penchant for comedy.
“I enjoy it. I seem to have a good background in comedy. I was steered toward comedy when I noticed that people laughed when they saw me,” Eberle laughed.
He too feels the quick timing is crucial to the humour of the play.
“Timing is of course very important and being able to trust your scene partner is very important because without them to give you the cue at the right time you can’t time your zinger punch line,” Eberle said.
He added the lines in Getting Sara Married can be a bit like verbal juggling.
“You have to keep your balls in the air all the time. If somebody drops a ball you’re in trouble,” Eberle said.
The Many Hats co-op has a lot of actors, producers and directors switching places (or hats, hence the name), which can help with a technical script like this one, according to Eberle.
“After working with the same people over and over again in a variety of capacities we all get to know each other, what to expect from each other what you have to give, what you have to take,” Eberle said.
This production also marks the first foray into Many Hats theatre for Renata Zablotney.
Tickets can be purchased at the Penticton and Wine Country Visitor Centre or by calling 250-276-2170.