Timothy Westerby, the overworked father-of-the-bride, is ripe for a nervous breakdown and lucky for the audience, he has one on the morning of the wedding in the form of an imaginary friend.
And such is the plot for the fast-paced farce, Stage West’s There Goes the Bride directed by Liz Gilroy, which focuses on Timothy, played by Mark Weatherley. The production was originally written by Ray Cooney and John Chapman in 1972 and played in London’s West end theatre district.
Weatherley’s biggest challenge was not only essentially playing three versions of his character, but also working mainly with the character of Polly (played wonderfully by Sarah English), who only he could see. Also challenging for English was that she only interacted with Weatherley.
“I think the real challenge is the dialogue — you’re basically playing three different characters in the play — and then the dialogue does a 180 because he is talking to this woman who no one else can see and then he is talking to the people that really exist,” Weatherley explains, adding the production really pushes the pace.
“It was a bit difficult to navigate but I was really excited. As an actor, it was a great challenge.”
Weatherley has experience as a playwright, which helped prepare him for a role like this. In fact, his new play called Whack is premiering this fall in Ontario. He last performed at Stage West over a decade ago in Victor/Victoria.
“It’s very useful; I can’t imagine being a playwright and not being an actor because as an actor you figure out what’s stage worthy and it’s very helpful when you go to write,” he explains.
There are also many differences between being an actor and a playwright, he adds.
“Being a playwright is lonelier work because you do your initial drafts by yourself; as an actor, it’s much more collaborative from day one surrounded by people,” he says.
“Being a theatre animal like I am is a fully immersive experience; I like to write plays, I like to direct, I Iove to act … you get fully immersed in the world of theatre when you put yourself into it.”
There Goes the Bride runs until Nov. 10 at Stage West. For tickets and showtimes go to stagewestcalgary.com.
Krista Sylvester is a freelance writer (and creator of that’s all she wrote) with a journalism background. She has worked for Metro, CityTV and the now defunct FFWD, and specializes in arts and culture, sports, film and entertainment, social issues and more. When she’s not writing, she can often be found at the poker table or ice rink playing hockey.