(Photo courtesy of The Denver Center)
By: Allison Upchurch, Staff Reporter
Since we just celebrated Valentine’s Day, let’s continue on this theme of love by looking at a theater show that portrays perhaps the second most romantic day of the year – a wedding day. Inspired by a wedding experience of the show’s playwright, Matthew Lopez, Zoey’s Perfect Wedding tells the story of the mishaps and fallouts that happen at the reception on Zoey’s wedding day.
While Zoey (played by Nija Okoro) is off attending to bridal duties, the play mainly focuses on Zoey’s friends from college - Rachael (played by Mallory Portnoy), her husband Charlie (played by Jeff Biehl), and Sammy (played by Grayson DeJesus). Each character has a hand in the accidental chaotic moments of the reception experience, from an alcohol-induced wedding toast to the exposure of an explicit video. Trying to calm the reception is Zoey’s cousin Missy (played by Kristin Villanueva) who also happens to be the inexperienced wedding planner. Throughout the reception, miscommunication and mishaps arise as each character tries to figure out what they want most out of the relationships they hold in their lives.
What’s interesting about Zoey’s Perfect Wedding is that the story starts even before the play officially begins. The character of DJ (played by Nick Ducassi), the actual DJ of Zoey’s wedding, is out on stage throwing down music tracks of dance, hip-hop, and pop songs of the early 2000’s as the audience walks in to take their seats. He even throws out commentary that a DJ at a wedding would do, and it helps the audience feel like they are actual guests at Zoey’s wedding.
This plot of the story itself is also cleverly constructed within the narrative of the time this play takes place in. Since this play takes place in November of 2008, some of the character’s struggle with financial situations, like debt and loss of savings, results in the major complications of the reception’s construction and how the character’s deal with those complications.
However, the big theme of this play is realizing expectations of relationships. Whether that would be married relationships or just dating relationships, each character has an expectation that is challenged within the course of this reception to change, and it’s up to them whether or not their expectations need to change or not. This theme can tie in well with the Jesuit value of “men and women for and with others” because breaking down expectations in relationships allows for a clearer outlook on the inner workings of a relationship between people, and how any repair to a strain in those inner working results in stronger relationships.
Zoey’s Perfect Wedding is playing at the Space Theatre at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts until February 25. Tickets are available at denvercenter.org or by calling their Box Office (don’t forget to inquire about a student discount).