Studio ready to kick off production of Talley’s Folly

The cast have a strong connection and noticeable chemistry

Dena Schedivy
Staff Writer

Written by Lanford Wilson, “Talley’s Folly” is the second installment of his “The Talley Trilogy” after “Fifth of July” and before “Talley & Son”.

Making his Minnesota State University, Mankato directing debut, Trevor Belt had some words to share on his first production here.

“I wanted to direct Talley’s Folly because I have such connection and history with the play. I was born and raised in a small town in Missouri, not too far from Lebanon, where the play takes place. I know these people. I know how they talk, how they view the world, what they fear, etc. I also really identify with the idea of being a part of a community where you don’t exactly fit in, having ideas that were ‘different’ or ‘radical’ than the ideas of the majority. Plus finding a certain someone who ‘gets’ you and accepts you for who you are, is appealing to everyone, I think.”

In Lebanon, Missouri 1944, we meet our main characters: Matt Friedman and Sally Talley. This romantic comedy follows the quirky and improbable couple.

Taking around ninety-seven minutes, as addressed during the show, this story focuses on their encounter on the Fourth of July.

In the summer of forty-three, Matt met Miss Talley and could not shake her from his mind, even going to the extent of sending her a letter every day. Only responding once, Sally seemed far away but that did not dampen Matt’s spirit when he returns to rural Missouri the following summer.

Although he informed her in his letter that he would be visiting, she is still surprised to see that he actually came. From this “unexpected arrival”, this arouses talk within Sally’s conservative household for Matt is Jewish and eleven years older than Sally. Outside of their religious beliefs, her parents do not approve of Matt and his wish to court their daughter.

Shifting topics, Sally talks about her uncle and the boathouse he built, claiming he was the sanest from her family because he did what he really wanted to do: build follies.

Looking back on their night they spent together a year ago, Matt regains hope that Sally will have him but when she poorly tries to push him away, his interest only strengthens. This challenge only motivates him more to win Sally’s heart.

Pressuring to learn more about Matt’s past, Sally learns more than she could have ever expected. Trying to veer the conversation to a brighter topic, Matt’s frustration is what encourages Sally to open up about why she hasn’t married. Surprised by her past, it turns out that Matt isn’t the only one with a dark and distant past.

Curving away from the trend of large casts this semester, “Talley’s Folly” has a cast of only two students.

When asked what if felt like to be in such a small cast, Megan Kueter, who portrays Sally Talley, says that, “It has been a completely new experience for me. I’ve never had the opportunity to work so intricately on a character and their relationship before without having to share time with other actors. John, Trevor and I get to dive so deep into all of the tiny details of the story that usually get glossed over in a bigger production. This play is so simple yet so rich and I am thrilled that I get to share it with everyone.”

John Nicol, who portrays Matt Friedman, expressed his excitement for this show.

“Working in such a small cast is really fun. It’s a really great opportunity to connect with the other person onstage because every action you take immediately effects every member of the cast. Sometimes that isn’t the case when dealing with a show that has a large cast with a huge chorus.”

To make it all sweeter, Belt’s first collegiate production was in “Talley and Son”, and said that this play/trilogy was a factor that made him fall in love with theatre itself.

Much like Kueter and Nicol, Belt commented,”I like working with a small cast, because we can really focus on specificity, connection, and intention. We do that with bigger casts, of course, but with a smaller cast there can be a closer connection between actor and actor, and actor and director. The intimacy in the world, as well as the product, becomes apparent, and really shines through.”

“Talley’s Folly” opens Wednesday, March 28 in the Andreas Theatre and closes Saturday, March 31. Tickets are available to purchase online at http://www.mnsu.edu/theatre/, by phone at 507-389-6661 or in-person at the box office Monday-Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. Regular tickets for “Talley’s Folly” sell for $10.

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