Fans of romantic comedy can't seem to get enough of wedding tales, so it was only a matter of time before Piccolo Fringe put marriage under the microscope.
There's something about the ritual that has an enduring appeal — perhaps the fact that we've all experienced a wedding in one way or another, so we instantly relate to the situation. The visual appeal is another important factor. Most ceremonies treat our eyes to a feast of expensive dresses and well-groomed grooms.
The expense involved, not just with the clothes, but everything else a wedding entails, appalls performer Megan Grano.
"An unprecedented amount of money and extravagance goes into marriages that don't last," she says.
It seems to her that the more is spent on the nuptials, the briefer the bliss will be. So she's written a show called Obliged, about a narcissistic bride-to-be and the characters contributing to the chaos around her: three attendants, the minister, florist, and caterer, all played by Grano.
"It's mainly meant to be funny," she says, "but there are a couple of serious moments. I put in a truthful piece based on my grandmother, who was married for 63 years. My grandfather proposed to her during the war and they were married two weeks later. She borrowed a nice pink dress, they invited a few friends, and that was it — no $100,000 reception."
So far Grano has performed Obliged in L.A., Chicago, and Detroit. To her surprise, it hasn't just been a runaway hit with women.
"Men love it," she says. "They've been married or have a sister, and they feel like I express what happened to their family. I get a lot of, 'My wife did all that stuff.' Guys get a big kick out of it. That's been a big shock to me."
Obliged is coupled with The Engagement, a different one-woman show by another actress-writer, Kimmy Gatewood. Together they are Meet Bridezilla.
The Engagement is about a girl whose fiancé doesn't turn up to the dress rehearsal; she runs into the coat room. Her friends and relatives try to coax her out while revealing their own personal stories and love advice.
The characters are based on Gatewood's family members and acquaintances, and by all accounts they don't mind cropping up in this story full of silly turns interspersed with quiet moments.
"This is the most personal show I've done," says Gatewood, whose last performance in Charleston was with the Apple Sisters at the 2008 Comedy Festival. "It's all to do with thinking things are in place, then they all disappear."
As far as Gatewood is concerned, the themes are similar but the points of view are very different.
"Obliged is about getting ready for a wedding," she says. "Mine's about the destruction of a wedding. But I guarantee that these two shows will be fantastic and hilarious."