The People’s Choice Award: Carole Vasta Folley
86: Carole Vasta Folley
Create a play about women and the lifetime impact of gendered clothing
Playwright Carole Vasta Folley’s work encapsulates both comedy and drama and includes Pronouncing Glenn, The Family of Ewe, Alumni Pie, The Sleepover ~ A Comedy of Marriage (2015 Vermont Playwrights Award), The Seymour Sisters (developed with support from Flynn Center for the Performing Arts and Vermont Community Foundation), Borrowing Time, and Lunch Money. Described as having the “storyteller gift,” her plays speak to the themes of belonging and the power of the collective. No matter the genre, Vasta Folley uses humor to invite the audience in, believing that laughter is more than an elixir, it’s a gateway to awareness. As columnist, Vasta Folley’s In Musing has won accolades from the Vermont Press Association, the New England Newspaper & Press Association, and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, of which she is a member. Vasta Folley is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Honor Roll Playwrights, an advocacy and action group of women+ playwrights over forty.
My project is a two-act episodic play exploring the impacts of gendered clothing on women. With comedy and drama, the play looks at generations of women-aimed messaging, revealing its influence on the very fabric of our lives.
The play features women, 40s to 70s, enabling the perspective of time in the characters’ reflections and how long women have been coping with this issue, all while highlighting the very demographic that womenswear often ignores.
Along with copious research, I’ll interview many women seeking their experiences. Actors and peers will also provide insight.
My objective is to create meaningful dialogue about how women have coped with societal messaging regarding their appearance, including discriminatory sizing and body image, contributing to a bias that permeates all areas of our culture. The clothes or shoes women have been expected to wear, rejected because they wore, or worse, in cases of sexual assault, blamed because they wore.
Unless examined, people can say “it’s just clothing” rather than grasping it’s part of a million little messages women receive over a lifetime. A play is the perfect medium for this conversation. When done right, it’s relatable, connective, moving, and human.
Don’t forget laughter; it helps talk about hard things. Whether it’s the herculean efforts that ensue when an occasion requires a special dress or the ridiculous lack of pockets in women’s clothes, there’s plenty of material and that’s not even counting how putting on pantyhose should be an Olympic sport.
Most importantly, it matters that this new work engages women and men emotionally and intellectually. Though challenging topics, the play will be created in a thoughtful, accessible way by employing both humor and heart to hold the audience in a space where they are entertained and presented with new perspectives on old ways of thinking.
The final result will be a completed script ready for the stage. One with great leading roles for older women.
“Selected excerpts from THE SEYMOUR SISTERS by Carole Vasta Folley.” From a production of Vasta Folley’s THE SEYMOUR SISTERS, demonstrates dramatic playwriting, using humor on occasion to talk about tough things.
“2 excerpts from ALUMNI PIE by Carole Vasta Folley.” From a production of Vasta Folley’s ALUMNI PIE: represents multi-characters, repartee, and plot. 2nd clip features comedy.
“Script Excerpt of BORROWING TIME by Carole Vasta Folley.” An opening scene in Vasta Folley’s BORROWING TIME. Show formatting, introduction of new characters, and sets the stage for action to come.