Local Playwright Breaks Into Comedy with ‘Snowflake Theory’

The Bard’s Town Theatre opens its new season Thursday with the world premiere of local playwright Nancy Gall-Clayton’s family comedy “The Snowflake Theory.” The play runs through May 20.

“The Snowflake Theory” is a new play about the Kleins, a Midwestern Jewish family. Marge is a widow who decides to start living for herself. But when her single daughter opts for artificial insemination and her only son wants to marry a wacky shiksa, she can’t help but get involved.

“It’s really a light entertainment,” says Gall-Clayton. “There are issues about tolerance and acceptance built into it, but you can ignore those if you like and just laugh.”

The light family comedy is a stylistic departure for the playwright, who writes mostly historical dramas about social justice issues like “General Orders No. 11,” her drama about General Ulysses S. Grant banishing Paducah’s Jews from the area that premiered at the Jewish Community Center in 2003.

“I’ve never written a full-length comedy before and it was a lot of fun. I started draft one about seven years ago. Every time I’ve had a reading I’ve changed it and I hope it’s gotten funnier each time,” she says.

One of those drafts received a staged reading at the Beyond the Borscht Belt Jewish theater festival in 2008, where Gall-Clayton learned the hard way that objects easily found on the page don’t necessarily materialize handily on stage. Though the reading wasn’t a staged production, the producers wanted to include what Gall-Clayton describes as “a large Jell-o creation” from the script – until they discovered they couldn’t make it Kosher.

“This play is full of challenging props. It might change the way I write my next play, but it’s going to be fun to see them come together on the stage,” she says.

For this production, the playwright took matters into her own hands.

“I’m Jewish, so a lot of the Jewish props came out of my kitchen,” says Gall-Clayton. “I made eight challahs in the last two weeks and froze them.”

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