Girls Nite Out Productions brings funny front and center with “The Sleepover ~ A Comedy of Marriage” by Vermont playwright Carole Vasta Folley. Opening Wednesday, Nov. 6, the play runs for nine performances at Burlington’s Main Street Landing Black Box Theater.
“Our mission to produce high quality plays blends perfectly with Vasta Folley’s talent for storytelling,” said Girls Nite Out Productions Co-Founder Janet Stambolian. “We’re over the moon to work with Carole again and give audiences a truly memorable experience!”
This is the third play by Vasta Folley produced by Girls Nite Out, who previously premiered the playwright’s “Alumni Pie” and “The Family of Ewe.”
The inspiration for “The Sleepover,” which won the 2015 Vermont Playwrights Award, is “comedy - pure and simple,” said Vasta Folley. “The fodder of dysfunctional marriages in the midst of inescapable amateur couples-therapy provides the perfect elements for ridiculousness. Besides, at one time or another, hasn’t everyone thought their relationship was hilarious?”
The comedy begins when a married psychotherapist and life coach hold their first overnight marriage retreat at a run-down ski lodge. The two, arguing from the start, clumsily attempt to help five squabbling couples who have no ride down the mountain. As Stambolian said, “What could possibly go wrong!?”
Plenty, according to the playwright, who wove a plethora of comedic circumstances into the action, from trust falls to questionable Tai Chi, and even a nod to the 1970’s “Newlywed Game.”
“This is my first full-out farce, creating a theatre experience totally for laughs,” said Vasta Folley, who also directs the production. “In the current climate, I did question the relevance of bringing a comedy to the stage, but then realized what has always proved true for me - not only is laughter a necessity; it also can be the balm that helps soothe bumpy times. I love making people laugh; what could be better than that?”
As a writer, Vasta Folley regularly uses humor to make her point. The Other Paper publishes her “In Musing” column, which features her unique take on everyday life. Her column has won awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Vermont Press Association and the New England Newspaper & Press Association, who wrote, “I wish there was an emoji just for reading Carole Vasta Folley. She’s breathless and energetic, and so funny with observations and personal foibles. More! More!”
This is the fifth play the writer has brought to the stage, with three others in the works.
“When I write a scene, it’s as if it’s happening in front of me. I’m scrambling to write it down fast as I can in order to capture the moment,” said Vasta Folley. “Often times, what I write surprises me; a character says or does something unexpected. Those moments are real gems - they seemingly come out of thin air and often crack me up!”
The playwright acknowledges that bringing a new play to the stage offers unique challenges. “It’s my job to get the performance I see in my mind up on that stage,” she said. “Good news is I have such a talented cast who works with me to create that vision. We collaborate wonderfully together, laughing at the ridiculousness of the script in rehearsals, making sure we leave no joke untold. It’s like we’re a bunch of comedy nerds at a humor convention. We can’t wait to bring our creation to the audience so they can have the best time!”
See and laugh for yourself Wednesday through Saturday, Nov. 6 through 16, 7:30 p.m., and a Nov. 16 2 p.m. matinee, at Main Street Landing’s Black Box Theater, 60 Lake Street, Burlington. For tickets, visit girlsniteoutvt.com or call 802-393-GNOP.