"The Cemetery Club" is a play about three widows, which doesn't exactly suggest it is going to be a hysterical comedy.
But director Leigh Matthews Bock and cast members say they've laughed a lot, especially during the first rehearsal of the Majestic Reader's Theatre production.
"I was howling with laughter," Bock said. "Even though the subject sounds heavy, it is truly one of the funniest shows I've ever seen, heard or read before."
The comedy-drama, written by Ivan Menchell, will have two performances Sunday in the Majestic Lab Theatre.
The story follows three Jewish widows, Doris, played by Wini Kovacik, Ida (Leslie Glassmire) and Lucille (Jodi Altendorf), who meet up once a month for tea before visiting their husbands, who are all buried in the same cemetery.
"These three women have this really strong friendship that made it through the years, and they are dealing with a huge part of life and that's loss," Bock said.
They are each in different stages of healing, and deciding whether or not to start new lives for themselves.
"Ida feels like her husband, having died a few years ago, would be OK if she moved on," Bock said.
When Ida meets Sam (Bill McCarthy), a widower at the cemetery, the two find a connection, but Doris and Lucille do their best to interfere.
Alice Tucker rounds out the cast as Mildred.
Two of the three women have portrayed these lead roles before in other full stage productions. Kovacik was in a production in Ohio, and Altendorf was in the play 25 years ago at Albany Civic Theater, Bock said.
This time around they have swapped roles.
"That's already been fun for them to investigate the same story, but with a different character," Bock said.
The veteran director also had previous experience with "The Cemetery Club." Bock handled the props and set dressing for the play in 2006 at Albany Civic Theater, she said.
Other than providing two hours of laughs for audiences, Bock thinks the play will spur conversations between couples after.
"It's just such an endearing story. I think it also speaks to everybody about the process that when we lose people those of us that are left behind, we have to deal with moving on," Bock said.