Fast-paced farce, including choreographed fight scenes and slapstick humor, is at the forefront for this new production by Flowertown Players.
"The Red Velvet Cake War" centers on three cousins, Gaynelle, Peaches and Jimmie Wyvette, who come together for a family reunion and are met with outrageous antics and local gossip in their little town of Sweetgum, Texas.
The 2010 dramedy by authors Jamie Wooten (who wrote for the TV show "The Golden Girls"), Nicolas Hope and Jessie Jones will make its way to the Summerville stage thanks to new Flowertown Players director Sue Vinick.
"I think the challenge will be, once we have an audience in there, to hold for laughter," Vinick says.
She cites some wily, silly characters, including a one-eyed suitor whose glass eye pops out on occasion, a holier-than-thou aunt and a joke-cracking "funny old cuss" who adds life to the show.
Some classic slapstick humor is a big part of what makes this play tick, which is why Vinick brought in someone specifically to organize and teach choreography for the many fight scenes.
"I didn't want anyone to get hurt," Vinick says. "It gets pretty physical."
She also gave the actors an extra week of rehearsal just to nail those feisty scenes.
For Vinick, who started acting at age 13 and directing at 17, theater comes as second nature. And moving into this directing role at Flowertown Players is just the icing on the cake (don't mind the pun) for the seasoned veteran, who moved to the Lowcountry in 2014 after living and working as the artistic director of a theater in Connecticut.
While her first collaboration with Flowertown was as an actor, she appreciates the attention-to-detail aspect of directing.
"It’s a whole different perspective," Vinick says. "With acting, obviously you’re looking at it as, 'How do I relate to this character and to the action that’s happening to the plot of the play?' When I’m directing, I have more of a global perspective, the perspective of the audience. I'm looking at how I can tell the author’s story by utilizing actors’ emotions, the stage lighting, physical movement, all the different aspects that theater has, to tell a story."
While Vinick has acted in and directed almost every genre of theater, she says that each experience sparks a unique joy and comes with its own challenges. With comedy, she gets a rush from the audience laughter and has to make sure that the funny parts really hit the same way a joke does in an improv comedy show.
The eccentric characters and elaborate plot of "The Red Velvet Cake War" do a lot of that without much assistance from her.
"It's one of the funniest shows I’ve ever been involved with," Vinick says.
"The Red Velvet Cake War" runs at 8 p.m. Jan. 25, 26 and 31 and Feb. 1 and 2. There are 3 p.m. performances Jan. 27 and Feb. 3. Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors, military and first-responders and $20 for students. For more information, visit flowertownplayers.org.