‘A chick flick on stage’

Chantelle Hovdebo (left) and Gail Enright rehearse for Dixie Swim Club. (Peter Lozinksi/Daily Herald)

It’s the story of five best friends who grow old together, and it’s coming to the Plaza 88 stage next week.

Dixie Swim Club, a play by Jessie Jones, Jamie Wooten and Nicholas Hope, is Odyssey’s latest offering for Prince Albert theatre fans. And like the characters in the play, it’s an all-female production.

“It’s about five women who meet in university on a swim team who keep their friendship going,” explained director Layla Shuparski.

‘They meet every year in August to get together and just be women together.

The story follows Sheree, the team captain who keeps everyone in line, played by Alison Gillespie; Dinah, an alcoholic lawyer played by Gail Enright; Lexie, a vain party planner played by Stephanie Bear; Jeri Neal, a nun who left the convent to have a baby, played by Chantelle Hovdebo; and Vernadette, who has just about every bad thing that could happen to someone occur, performed by Desire Lang.

The five actresses are joined by Shuparki, assistant director Colleen Clark and stage manager Katherine Hayduk — a team of eight women working hard to bring the play to the stage.

The group got together in late fall and has been working hard ever since.

“It’s coming together wonderfully,” Shuparski said. “There have lots of bumps and lots of fun working on the characters.”

One of the hardest parts, Shuparski said, was keeping the characters fresh.

“With this show, it’s so much about their interactions between each other. It requires a lot of listening and observing. It’s about the chemistry between them.”

Keeping her character authentic while pulling off a southern dialect has been one of the challenges faced by Enright.. She has performed with a group out of Wesley United Church, and with the Prince Albert Community Players. Enright has also taken to the stage with the Off the Cuff Improv. This is her second performance with Odyssey, and so far, she’s enjoying the experience.

“It’s been fantastic for me,” Enright said.

“I’m a lot older than a lot of these women. It’s a lot of fun because they haven’t experienced everything I’ve experienced. They’re still at the beginnings of their lives, whereas I’m a grandmother.”

Much like the actors themselves, the characters grow and transform during the play. The storyline follows them as they go from 44-year-olds to seniors at age 77.

Throughout, they deal with a variety of changes and challenges.

Those life experiences are universal, and the cast and crew say any audience member will be able to relate.

“They go through all these little challenges and depend on each other to get through them,” Shuparski said.

“It’s very women-oriented sweet drama. But there’s still a nice, light comedy. A lot of women will be able to identify with them.”

Enright said men would also find the humour in the show, as would people of all ages.

“It’s almost like a chick flick on stage,” she said.

“You can identify with all of the characters in different times of your life. It would appeal to all different ages.”

With opening night less than a week away, the cast and crew are now putting the finishing touches on their show. They’re looking forward to being able to perform it, and are appreciative of the public support.

“I’m a daycare provider, I work with children and a lot of their parents are going to be coming,” Enright said.

“I’m looking forward to the support from the community.”

The Dixie Swim Club will be performed Nov. 23 – 25 at Plaza 88. Tickets for the Thursday night show (show only) are $25, while tickets for the Dinner Theatre Friday and Saturday are $55 each. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are on sale at Canadian Tire customer service.