by Lanford Wilson
“Talley’s Folly is a play to savor and to cheer,” writes The New York Times. Set on a decaying boathouse on a quiet river in Lebanon, Missouri, two tragic yet glorious outcasts reunite on a July evening in 1944. As Matt Friedman woos Sally Talley and strives to break through her protective shell, pieces of the past come to the surface. Packed with tenderness and humor, this Pulitzer Prize winning romantic comedy will enrapture your heart and waltz through your mind for days.
Asst. Stage Manager
Tatyana de Pavloff
Talley’s Folly is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
Let me tell you about Phoebe Wray. When I met her, she was 70-something years old, impish and tough-as-nails, teaching theatre history at The Boston Conservatory. She took simultaneously a personal and expansive approach to theatre history, alternating between first-person accounts of her gritty career and major movements in world history. On any given day, her lectures might include: her adventures as a young actor/director in 1960s Greenwich Village, how prostitutes invented Kabuki in 17th century Japan, her experience in the founding years of the off-off-Broadway movement and the first “gay” theatre, classical Sanskrit drama, what it was like to direct at La Mama, Indonesian shadow-puppet theatre, her unrequited love for her friend Lanford Wilson.
I don’t think she ever stopped loving him. She directed me in The Rimers of Eldritch, a Lanford Wilson play about a small community undone by gossip and prejudice. We seized any opportunity to talk to Phoebe about Lanford and what it was like in the early days, when they were all just a group of forward-thinking kids, writing plays and producing them at the legendary Caffe Cino. In this dark, magical hole-in-the-wall in Greenwich Village, playwriting was an expression of creativity free from commercial influences. Phoebe painted Caffe Cino as theatre at its purist: part hang-out, part underground coffee house illegally patched into the city’s electric grid, and entirely groundbreaking.
For a play that at its heart is about love, acceptance, and feeling like a fish out of water, it seems fitting to dedicate Talley’s Folly to Phoebe and all her Caffe Cino compatriots. Like Sally Talley and Matt Friedman, they were glorious outcasts who found a home in each other.