Sexy Laundry, starring Frances Fisher and Paul Ben Victor
Armed with a copy of “Sex for Dummies,” Alice and Henry check themselves into a trendy spa hotel with a mission — to jumpstart their 25-year marriage. So begins the premise of Sexy Laundry, a comedy by award-winning Canadian playwright Michele Riml.
Time has taken its toll, so have kids, stress, and gravity. In desperation, Alice has decided that either they make this final, major effort to save their marriage, or they just get a divorce and go their own ways. Can Henry really embrace all the wild suggestions Alice keeps pulling from their handy-dandy marriage-saving manual? Does he really want to see his fifty-plus wife, and mother of his children, dressed in black leather? In turns touching and laugh-out-loud funny, Sexy Laundry is a romantic comedy guaranteed to strike a chord.
The bottomless mystery of what attracts people to each other is, arguably, the sustainable fuel of theatre. What drives them apart or, more elusive still, keeps them together is maybe even more impossible to exhaust. It’s Alice who, dissatisfied with the status quo, instigates the therapy weekend. “What she doesn’t realize is that problem lies within herself…. She’s lost touch with herself after 25 years, and looks to her husband. Henry has lost connection with himself too. He’s stopped asking questions; he’s been relying on his old ideas.”
Henry (on why he never buys flowers): “You spend $50 and they just die.”
Alice: “Well, I spent 25 years with you, and you’re just gonna die, too.”
But the laugh track doesn’t run for the entire show. Riml manages a surprising but believable switch to eye-dabbing drama when Alice, describing an epiphany she had on a treadmill at the gym, blurts out the dreaded D-word: divorce. And that’s when the knives come out, making their earlier bickering look like whispered sweet nothings. They don’t hold back, and the journey that Henry and Alice take to get back on track is arduous — and well worth it for the audience.
Michele is a critically acclaimed playwright from Vancouver, British Columbia. Her work has been nominated for more than 10 Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards and her first play Souvenirs won the BC Young Playwright Search. Michele came to the attention of Vancouver audiences with her critically acclaimed play Miss Teen, excerpts of which were published in Taking Stage: Canadian Women in Theatre. Her play Under the Influence went from a sell-out Fringe production to an audience favourite at The Arts Club and was most recently produced in Quebec. Her work for Green Thumb Theatre for Young People includes the children’s plays Cool and The Invisible Girl, which continues to be produced throughout Canada. Her short play Clean was optioned for film by Alliance Atlantis Canada. Sexy Laundry has been a breakout hit, selling out at the Belfry in Victoria, and returning for an encore run at The Arts Club after a successful run and regional tour. Sexy Laundry has also been produced by Prairie Theatre Exchange, and will take the stage in Quebec this summer and in Ontario in 2006.
A firm believer in the transformative power of theatre, Michele’s most recent play RAGE, produced by The Vancouver East Cultural Centre, explores the difficult issues of violence and bullying in high school. Michele has also written communication campaigns supporting the end of Violence Against Women, Bullying and Racism. She is a former member of the board of directors for Turning Point Recovery Society and continues to advocate for women in recovery.
February 8th – March 16th 2008