The Bloomington Playwrights Project kicks off its thirtieth season with Lanford Wilson’s delightfully complex and twisted valentine, Talley’s Folly. It’s a two character play set in small town Missouri in 1944. Lee Parker plays Matt Friedman an ironically winsome forty-some Jewish accountant from Saint Louis. Emily Goodson is Sally Talley, a charmingly thirty-some former bell of the town. It’s typical of the delightfully skewed humor that Sally stoutly maintains that she’s a mid-westerner and Matt says that outside of New York and a few suburbs of Boston the whole United States is the south.
After a brief romance the previous year Matt has come back to the little town to woo Sally and their courtship has plenty of ups and downs. He’s been writing her daily letters, but so far she’s not responded even once. They’re both attracted to one another, but they each have some carefully hidden or repressed past secrets that have to be shared. There’s some tension in the rooting out of their stories and a good deal of humor.
I said that Talley’s Folly is a two character play, but that’s not quite the truth. Actually there’s a third very important character and it’s the set designed and built by the director Tom Evans and his assistant Ian McCabe. It’s a lovingly thought out and whimsically put together vision of an old ruined boat house. Evans’ direction keeps things tight and moving and he uses every square inch of that design to good advantage.
Talley’s Folly is a delightful beginning to the Playwrights Projects Season with a couple of charmingly assured actors and a thoughtful script in a classy production.
Final performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday September 10th thru 12th at 8 pm
Talley’s Folly is co-sponsored by the Jewish Theatre of Bloomington, which is hosting a special community reception and discussion after the Thursday, September 10th performance. The discussion will focus on the issues faced by interfaith couples like Sally and Matt in the play and feature several interfaith couples from the Bloomington community.