As I’ve contemplated the list of roles I’d love to play for this series of posts, I realize more than ever how influenced we are by plays and roles we either did/studied earlier in our lives or roles that we would have loved to have played but didn’t get the part.
So it is with the role of Matt Friedman in Lanford Wilson‘s play Talley’s Folly. The show takes place in a broken down family boathouse in Missouri in 1944. It is the 4th of July and Sally Talley has returned home from her job as a nurse in St. Louis. She met Matt Friedman, a young Jewish man, while on vacation. Matt has written Sally a letter every day since they first met and only received one (not encouraging) reply. He shows up at the family homestead to confront Sally. She meets him in the boathouse, angry that he has shown up uninvited. The show reveals their conversation, their history, and their hearts.
My college produced the show, and the role of Matt went to my roommate, Kirk. Kirk played the role with his usual display of talent and excellence. Kirk could always find humor in the most amazing ways. And, as Craig S. continues to remind me to this day, Kirk also got to kiss Tara. Nevertheless, as I helped Kirk with his lines and helped produce the show I fell in love with the role of Matt. I have always wished that one day I could sink my teeth into portraying Matt on stage. I love the depth of his character and would love the challenge of finding his voice and physicality. Plus, the intricacies of the conversation between he and Sally is like a chess game. Finding the complexities would be a blast.
Wendy had never read the show, so a few years ago on a cold Saturday morning we cuddled together on the couch with one script and read the play together. By the end of the play we were both wiping our eyes (as one audience member put it – “It’s a two-hanky show”).