The play written by Neil Simon opens Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Morris Morgan Theatre of the James L. Morgan Liberal Arts Building on the St. Andrews Presbyterian College campus. Additional performances will take place Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. with a matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $5 for students and $8 for non-students.
“It’s a dinner party involving three divorced couples,” said Joanna Hipp, who portrays Mariette Leviuex. “It’s not serious. It’s funny with sad and serious written in.”
Hipp, a senior, did theatre before college but has only appeared in one previous St. Andrews production. She describes her character as “a woman in her late 30s who is a successful writer. She is divorced from the man who taught her everything.”
Portraying Mariette’s ex-husband Claude Pichon is St. Andrews theatre veteran Phil Ratchford.
“Claude is a writer and very caught up in the classics,” Ratchford said. “He’s very intelligent, kind of sarcastic and rude.”
While the six cast members have various levels of theatre experience, this was their first time working exclusively with director Chris Wood.
“It’s been a fun challenge,” said Ratchford. “I’ve worked with (Theatre Professor) Mark Mannette on three productions and it was good to see different aspects brought to light by Chris.”
Hipp agreed, “It was unique as none of us knew what to expect. He put a different spin on things and it helped us to grow in relation to our theatre experience.”
With such a small cast, there were different challenges than have existed with the recent St. Andrews productions such as Macbeth, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Three Penny Opera.
“It makes you more dependent on the other cast members,” Ratchford said. “You get close and have to play off each other, especially with this play that depends on comedic timing.”
Hipp adds, “We all had to work together. We got together three nights a week and it was hard if not everyone was there. All six of us are active on campus but we managed to find a time to make it work.”
To enjoy the “sarcastic dialog” and “awkward social interactions of people who cannot return to a common ground,” come to see The Dinner Party.