February 6, 2024 at 3:25 p.m.

A Whimsical Take on Love and Marriage to Debut at WILLow LeaVes 02/09

By JENN WILLHITE | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Actors’ Studio on Stage, in collaboration with WILLow LeaVes of Hope, presents an unconventional take on love and marriage with “Getting Sara Married” beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, February 9 at WILLow LeaVes of Hope, located at 326 Jackson St. in downtown Hope.

Written by Sam Bobrick, this unconventional dinner-theatre production is a delightful marriage of hilarity and the absurd as a 60-something year old Martha, played by veteran actor Naomi Fleetwood-Pyle, makes an executive decision to get her 30-something year old lawyer niece, Sara, married – by any means necessary.   

The problem? Sara doesn’t know yet.    

She's dedicated her life to litigation in lieu of love. 

When the dating pool is empty with no prospects to be found poolside or elsewhere, one must resort to unusual means to kickstart the journey to Holy matrimony, including – but not limited to – kidnapping, deceit and bribery, according to Aunt Martha.   

Pyle describes Martha as a bit odd with a mild exercise obsession and tunnel vision with her sights set on Brandon, a gentleman who she believes will make Sara a perfect husband. The problem? He’s already got a fiancé.

“But it’s Ok, because according to Martha he’s not getting married for several months,” Pyle says. “So, there’s a nice window of opportunity.”  

Hilarity ensues when Martha recruits the help of Noogie – a guy with opportunity, determination and a dolly – to literally deliver Brandon to Sara.

The Actors’ Studio welcomes Faith Talkington who portrays Sara and describes her as a “hard-working young woman who is basically married to her job.”

“Sara has a lot of sass to her, which makes her even more fun to portray,” Talkington adds. “The most challenging part of playing her is finding a good balance between the play’s comedic and emotional moments.” 

If there’s one thing Sara has taught Talkington it is that one can live a happy life independently, Talkington says.

“I would say this play has the same characteristics as other romantic comedies, but with a twist,” Talkington says.  

Seymour native Marlee Davis plays the role of Brandon’s fiancé, Heather, and describes her character as an understanding woman who doesn’t make demands and has made the commitment to settle down.

“I believe people could learn that everything happens for a reason,” Davis says. “Sometimes the people who know us the best really do know us the best… even if their idea sounds crazy.”

Suffice to say, Heather’s relationship with Sara is essentially built on deceit and when the pair have the opportunity to finally meet it doesn’t go according to plan, Davis says.

“Sara is someone who chooses not to have an active love life,” Davis says. “But it turns out, she just needed to find the right guy to break through her walls.”

As relationships form, others tend to break. And it is that rhythm of relationships that echoes the ebbs and flows of life and love that move throughout the nearly two-hour long production.   

Pyle says her initial read-thru of the play made her laugh to the point that she knew it was something fans of WILLow LeaVes’ dinner-theatre would enjoy.

Admittedly a fan of comedy over drama if given the choice, Pyle says she looks forward to seeing those who attend this play’s two-week run laugh, enjoy a great meal and leave with their bellies full and hearts happy as the world is filled with enough grief.

“This is a great show for Valentine’s Day because it shows just how far people are willing to go for love,” Davis says. “And that, sometimes, love can be messy, but what is meant for you will find its way to you in the end.” 

What: "Getting Sara Married" presented by Actors' Studio on Stage in collaboration with WILLow LeaVes of Hope.
When: 7 p.m. February 9, 10, 16 and 17 (Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; Dinner at 6 p.m.; Show at 7 p.m.); 2 p.m. February 11 and 18 (Doors open at 12:30 p.m.; Dinner at 1 p.m.; Show at 2 p.m.)
Where: WILLow LeaVes of Hope, 326 Jackson St. in downtown Hope.
Cost: $35 per person (includes dinner, dessert and show).
For reservations, call 812-341-7251.