Just how over the top is “Mama Won’t Fly,” opening Friday (May 8) at Olympia Little Theatre?
Here’s a line from the script by comedy-writing team Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten: “Just call me butter, ’cause I’m on a roll.”
At one point, the farce’s road-tripping characters stop at a bra museum, and at another stop they wind up dressed in leftover costumes from productions of “Annie,” “The Sound of Music” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”
While silly humor abounds, director Kathryn Beall was drawn to the play because the relationship between Mama Norleen (Gretchen O’Connor) and daughter Savannah (Nicole Galyean) reminded her of her relationship with her own mother.
“Savannah has promised her younger brother that she will get their mother to his wedding from Birmingham, Alabama, to California,” Beall said. “She and her mother don’t have the closest relationship. Her mother, like my mother and many other mothers, constantly meddles in her daughter’s life.
“I’ve had some of the conversations with my mother,” she said. “I don’t need to put lipstick on. Please don’t fix me up with people.”
Given the play’s subject matter, the company decided it was a great choice for the May slot. Olympia Little Theatre normally doesn’t do a matinee on a show’s opening weekend, but will have a Mother’s Day performance Sunday.
Bride-to-be Hayley (Stephanie Kroschel) winds up coming along on the road trip, which begins in Norleen’s Buick, one of three vehicles constructed for the set.
The vehicles, painted by mural painter Vince Ryland, can move around the set on platforms. They have elaborate fronts and backs and low sides “like the carriages on a merry-go-round,” Beall said.
“They are adorable,” she added. “Think of a big Hot Wheels car.”
As expected, things don’t go according to plan. Complications include an auto accident that forces the women to find another ride.
It seems that the bride-to-be’s bad luck is the cause of many of the trio’s troubles. “Apparently, when Hayley was in second grade, she got a Valentine from a classmate’s ‘boyfriend,’ ” Beall said. “The girl cursed her.”
Even the play’s strange characters and colorful dialogue feel familiar to Beall, who has Southern relatives.
The South is a specialty for Hope, Jones and Wooten, who have teamed up on such regional comedies as “The Dixie Swim Club,” which Olympia Little Theatre produced in 2010. In fact, Wooten was a writer and producer of “The Golden Girls,” for which he won a Writers Guild of America award.
“Southerners have their eccentric characters,” Beall said. “The cast will say to me, ‘People don’t really talk like this,’ and I’ll say: ‘My relatives talk like this, yes, indeedy-do, they do.’ ”