Screenwriter Pays Tribute To Local Tradition With ‘The Cookie Table’

cookie-table-movie

Weddings are occasions bursting with drink, food, and, of course, cake. But Pittsburgh receptions offer something more in the cookie table, a regional staple providing guests with piles upon piles of homemade goodies. The tradition will feature prominently in a new short about a less than blissful matrimony.

The Cookie Table recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for its upcoming production. Described as a “docu-dramedy,” the film focuses on a bride’s disastrous decision to trade in the cookie table for a sushi bar. Carnegie Screenwriters member, Beth Rohach, became inspired to write the script after her friend shared a story about the custom’s unique origins.

“When I researched it further, I found that it is thought to have started back in the days of the depression when money was tight and families wanted to help defray the cost of the wedding,” says Rohach in an email interview. “Today, being asked to bake for a wedding is an honor, and, in a way, brings the couple’s families together to be included in the wedding.”

Rohach, who had a cookie table at her own wedding, wanted to capture the family’s role in the beloved practice, as mothers, cousins, and siblings are often tasked with whipping up dozens of such specific treats as Lady Locks, Pizzelles, apricot and nut kolache, nut rolls, pecan tassies, and thumbprints. Her story has already struck a chord with locals.

“We had a seated reading for The Cookie Table, and actually had a cookie table at the reading, too,” says Rohach. “It was a lot of fun, and many members of the audience had stories about cookies and wedding to share after the reading. Some people have even asked why we haven’t had a film about cookie tables made in Pittsburgh already.”

Melissa Martin will direct and produce the film, with Laurie Smith-Greene acting as the cinematographer. As for the cast, Rohach revealed that local actress Lynn Franks will play Mary Therese, the mother of the groom, Lonnie Jantsch will play the role of Aunt Mary Celeste, and area comedian and journalist Mike Buzzelli will play cousin Stanley. Several actors and actresses are also being considered for the bride and groom.

Rohach adds that, depending on how well fundraising goes, they hope to start shooting sometime in late summer or early fall.

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