Slaphappy: A Covid-Era Commedia

Originally Screened May 20 - May 30, 2021

RE-RELEASE: Aug. 26 - Sept. 5, 2021

We are committed to providing a safe environment for our faculty, staff, students, artists, and audiences and will continue to follow national, state, local, and university guidelines.

Villanova University has mandated vaccination for our on-campus community, increased the frequency of cleaning and sanitization, and equipped our facilities with MERV-13 filters. At this time, we will be requiring masks for all audience members during performances.

conceived and directed by Valerie Joyce

“Stupid in all the best ways.”

Imagine a universe where cutthroat collegiate teams vie for glory in the high-stakes world of...Commedia dell'Arte???  Outsized characters, physical shtick, running gags, improvisation, and — perfect for the Covid Era — MASKS!  Inspired by cult film favorites Pitch Perfect and Waiting for Guffman, this ensemble-devised comic romp aims to deliver giddy delight in an age of anxiety.

$10 Suggested Donation Per Viewer  Run Time: Approximately two and a half hours

Content Advisory

If you want to learn more about the content of this show, please click below for specific content alerts. If you have further questions, contact the box office.

Content warnings are verbal or written notices that precede potentially sensitive content. Content warnings differ from spoilers because they don’t explain plot or context. Similar to a rating on a movie or TV show, content warnings give the audience a heads up about potentially triggering topics in the performance. We hope that providing the following content warnings will equip our audiences with the tools they need to engage with the performance in a meaningful and fulfilling way.

Production Staff

Director of Photography/Editor - Hezekiah L. Lewis III

Scenic Designer - Colin McIlvaine

Lighting Designer - Jerold R. Forsyth

Sound Designer - John Stovicek

Costume Designer - Janus Stefanowicz

Commedia Consultant - John V. Bellomo

Movement Coaches - Andrew Blasenak and Chelsea Phillips

Dramaturg - Kirsten Sughrue

Production Manager - Amanda Coffin

Stage Manager - Kenzie Lynn Bradley

Prop Master/Scenic Charge - Sharri Jerue

Technical Director - Jake Rothermel

Director of Digital Strategy - Kimberly Reilly


Ciao Bellas
“Uncle Johnny” Speltzer - David Burgess
Alex Callahan - Colleen Cordaro
Rob Speltzer - Luke A. Davis
Roy “The Boy” - Tim Krall
Margo le Fay - Tina Lynch
Chad Michael Chad - Sharese Salters
Vincenza “Vinnie” - Alison Scaramella

Compagnia della Commedia dell’Arte
Sera Johnstone - Cristy Chory
Grace Lessing - Erin Coffman
Carroll Drake - Hannah Deprey-Severance
Chet Layser - Nicholas Ecker
Caroline “Line” Agresta - Anna Sorrentino

UPenn Quackers
Louise Schuster - Meghan Dietzler
Ethan Williams - Tyler J. Eldridge
Julia Wrong - Ryan Henry
Katie “Bella” Lawson - Lora Margerum
Max Capacity - J. Bean Schwab

Kathy Brown, PhD (Moderator) - Emma Poley
Dr. Blaze – Andrew Blasenak
Penny Hollis – Kirsten Sughrue

Dramaturgical Resources

Click here to see Production Dramaturg Kirsten Sughrue's dramaturgical website.

Get a behind-the-screen look at the devising, rehearsal, filming, and post-production process of Slaphappy at our live Speaker's Night on Thursday, 5/20 at 8:30pm. Join Director Valerie Joyce, Director of Photography/Editor Hezekiah L. Lewis III, Commedia Consultant John V. Bellomo, Villanova Theatre Associate Artistic Director Chelsea Phillips, and Dramaturg Kirsten Sughrue as they discuss how this glee-filled film came together.

About the Director


VALERIE JOYCE, Theatre Department Chair, has been directing, designing or performing on stage at Villanova Theatre for almost 30 years.

Her Villanova directing credits include: Merrily We Roll Along, The Importance of Being EarnestIntimate ApparelLittle Women: The MusicalTranslationsThe Threepenny OperaThe Light in the PiazzaCarouselBatboy: The MusicalAnnie Get Your GunCabaret, and Talley’s Folly.

Her Villanova costume design credits include: Twelve DreamsDancing at LughnasaBus Stop, and Speed the Plow.

Valerie wrote and directed a one-woman show with Villanova alumna Kimberly S. Fairbanks (MA ’11) that dramatizes the lost stories of pre-emancipation African American women entitled I Will Speak for Myself.  They have performed this show in New York City at 59E59, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Beacon Theatre in Philadelphia, Rock Hall, Maryland, and in Eugene O’Neill’s Tao House in San Francisco, CA. Other directing credits include: The Meat Opera and Up Your Ante for the New York and Philadelphia International Fringe Festivals and Thank You for Sharing with Amaryllis Theatre Company.

She also designed costumes for regional productions including A Persistent Memory and Six Story Building (Off Broadway), The Real Thing (Arden Theatre Company), Moon for the Misbegotten (Venture Theatre), True West and Waiting for Godot (Lantern Theatre Company), Billy and Zelda (Opera Delaware), and The Comedy of Errors (Princeton Repertory), as well as many university productions.

Valerie is a board member of the American Theatre and Drama Society and is affiliated with the Music/Theatre Dance and Women and Theatre focus groups of ATHE. She has presented her research at the national conferences of ASTR and ATHE and internationally at the Society of Early Americanists, Society for the Study of American Women Writers, and the Staging America conference in Madrid, Spain.

At Villanova, Valerie teaches courses on Script Analysis, Musical Theatre, Teaching of Theatre, Creativity, and topics courses including African American Women Playwrights.