Cedarville’s opening night for “Father of the Bride” Oct. 1 may have very well captured the hearts of every father in the room.
“Father of the Bride” centers around the Banks family, especially the daughter, Kay, played by junior Emma Kowatch, and her father, Stanley, played by junior Caleb Curby. Kay found a boy she plans to marry, Andrew Poplin’s character Buckley Dunstan, which brings in all the hilarity that a family has while planning a wedding.
The youngest Banks, Tommy, played by senior Johnathan Coraccio, constantly teases Kay and brings energy to the stage that only a younger brother can. Ben Banks, played by sophomore Nathan Davis, is the dutiful son trying to keep his girlfriend Peggy from mentally planning their own wedding. And the mother, Ellie Banks, played by Rebecca Levergood, keeps the family together and helps Stanley let go of Kay and Kay get ready for a new life.
Stanley tries to persuade Kay to change her mind – remain his “little girl” a little longer. Here, the story unfolds of a father trying to let his daughter have a wedding and all the politics that come with planning one. Fathers in the audience perhaps related with Stanley’s fears of letting his little girl grow up. The audience watches how a family deals with a daughter leaving the home and becoming part of another family, too.
As the play progresses, Curby portrays a father who goes from not being able to see his daughter as the age to marry, to loving Buckley as a son and giving him life tips for living with women.
Kay’s character is complex. She begins as a child without many plans – just an idea to marry – but during the play, Kay grows to be an adult who has to make her voice heard about what she wants and knows when compromise is appropriate. Kowatch excellently shows this transition. Her body language portrays her as timid, small and without too much determination. But as the play progresses Kowatch’s stage presence becomes larger and her voice is better heard to show that she wants to make her own decisions.
Buckley visibly transforms as well. His voice at first is higher and shakes when he speaks; he can’t hold Stanley’s gaze for long, and Buckley appears to be very small and timid in stature. But when Buckley realizes the wedding is much more than two people and that he loves Kay enough to do anything for her – including standing in front of hundreds of people to announce his love – Buckley’s voice is steady and his stature much larger. Buckley physically and mentally gains confidence in his love and what Kay means to him.
The music between scenes appropriately connect “Father of the Bride” to the 1950s, giving the play a whimsical and entertaining break between scenes.
A light-hearted comedy, the play is hilarious and heart-warming. The humor was best represented in the interaction between Stanley and the other cast members. He goes from being a hesitant, worrying dad to a proud father. And Ellie has to regularly calm Stanley – the worried father – as he has to keep getting out his checkbook for various wedding expenses.
The audience on opening night was entrenched in the story, living the wedding planning with the Banks family. A realistic storyline and presentation of the characters made the play more easy to relate to for many in the audience. The play is a must-see for all ages.
“Father of the Bride” continues its production Oct. 8-11 in Cedarville’s DeVries Theatre.
Allison Sapp is a senior English major and an arts and entertainment reporter for Cedars. She has a love for dogs, book editing and Tim Horton’s coffee.