Bubba and Babe's Backwoods Texas Wedding
Dinner-theatre nuptials, Texas-style
At a certain point in your life, you've been to enough weddings that you've seen it all: fighting couples, pregnant brides, singing marriage counselors ...
Or maybe not. Bubba and Babe's Backwoods Texas Wedding, the new venture by the Esther's Follies company, serves up all of that and more for dinner-theatre audiences at Patsy's Cowgirl Cafe. The cast of 11 actors, singers, improvisers, and the occasional juggler fill out a character list of what director Doug Ewart calls "real, lovable rednecks." While it's not far in concept from Tony n' Tina's Wedding, the interactive send-up of Italian-American weddings, Bubba and Babe's follows a more defined story.
The proposal for the countrified couple's celebration came about several months ago but was not accepted until the fall, when the company held auditions for the regular Esther's Follies company and found they had more talent than they could cast. So, naturally, they created a whole new production. They had seven weeks to create and rehearse the show before the Nov. 14 opening.
Seven weeks is generally considered a short time to create a play from scratch. But that's only if you plan to write and develop a traditional script. In keeping with the Esther's Follies mode of rehearsed improv, the Bubba and Babe's team chose to make it up as they went.
"What's great about doing the improv aspect of it is it can change from night to night," Ewart says. "[The show] is very audience-oriented. Since we were able to cast some very good improv-ers, it made that question of 'do we write it, do we improvise it?' that much easier."
Much has been left to the actors. "We didn't even know [all the characters] for a couple weeks. We wanted people to develop who they were at first," Ewart says.
The show opens and closes with a couple of fast-paced songs, in which the cast directs the audience to "grab yourself a beer and your good pair of socks" as they launch into rehearsed but unscripted scenes. Rehearsals resembled a chaotic horde of bickering hillbillies who occasionally burst into organized song.
Ewart says that after the winter run in front of the cowgirl mural on the Patsy's stage, Esther's Follies hopes to make the show available for corporate events or private parties and possibly a tour. Actors will likely join and leave the cast as their schedules permit, but Ewart says that he plans for Bubba and Babe to stumble and stagger their way to the altar for months to come.
Bubba and Babe's Backwoods Texas Wedding runs Nov. 28-Dec. 19, Wednesdays, 7:30pm, at Patsy's Cowgirl Cafe, 5001 E. Ben White. For more information, call 320-0553.