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“Girls’ Weekend” Opens at Market House Theatre This Weekend

Caleb Buford
Market House Theatre

Iowan playwright Karen Schaeffer works to change the dynamic of older female characters through her scripts and portray more authentic experiences on stage.

Audiences will get a chance to see an example of Schaeffer’s female-led comedic work with Market House Theatre’s production of “Girls’ Weekend,” opening in Paducah tonight.

Schaeffer’s goal is to write plays that focus on complex female personalities. Most plays with older women are usually characterized as the crazy aunt, a housewife, or a mother, Schaeffer said. Schaeffer wanted to change the dynamic of older female characters in theatre. She wants her characters to be realistic and not stereotypical.

Schaffer uses herself and others for inspiration for her characters.

“I see my neighbors, I see the people at the grocery store. You know, I see the women that I work with, you know, we are amazing people. I, women, and you know, we are living diverse lives. And those are the women that I want to see in my plays, whether it's a group of women or even just a single character or a couple of women in the play. I want them to be diverse, dynamic, you know, to to have these hills and valleys that they have to go through and to portray those things so that people can see and understand that,” says Schaeffer.

In the farce comedy, “Girls’ Weekend,” four friends travel to Dot Northwood’s cabin to drink many cases of wine, laugh at their lives, and discuss their book club’s latest read. Throughout the show, three of the women each woman try tries to sneak in their boyfriend or husband without letting others know.

“Girls’ Weekend” was the first play that Schaeffer wrote. She finished writing it within two weeks and began to share her work. Over the course of two years, Schaeffer had others read the script, held a table read, and sent the script to different theatres for potential performances. Finally, “Girls’ Weekend” was published by Dramatic Publishing in 2017.

Schaeffer is a mother and has struggled with the idea that roles for older women sometimes only focus on motherhood.

“Because it's tough having so many jobs at the same time while trying to raise children. And it's not just that one part of me. There are so many, many parts of me. And I wanted to show all those parts.”

“Girls’ Weekend” has been produced across the United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, and Iceland.

Schaeffer has also found success penning other plays with a female focusLast year, Market House Theatre produced another of Schaeffer’s plays, “Unpacking Mother,” which won the 2022 AACT NewPlayFest and is being published as part of an anthology. She received the 2015 Cloris Leachman Special Recognition Award for “Girls’ Weekend.”

The “Girls’ Weekend” performances at Market House will be from April 20-April 30 on the weekends, with nightly and matinee shows. Market House Marketing Director Caleb Buford said there will be a “talkback” with Schaeffer following Saturday’s performance.

Zoe Lewis is a first-year sophomore at Murray State University from Benton, Kentucky. She is majoring in journalism with a minor in media production. She enjoys reading, going to movie theaters, spending time with her family and friends, and eating good food. Zoe is an Alpha Omicron Pi sorority member in the Delta Omega chapter. She is very excited to start working at WKMS and work while learning more about NPR, reporting, journalism, and broadcasting.
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