Theater review: Purple Rose Theatre’s ‘Talley’s Folly’ is a melodramatic valentine

April 7, 2015 - accent chair

Lanford Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Talley’s Folly,” now being staged during a Purple Rose Theatre, put me in mind of an all-night date we went on in college.

No, it wasn’t “all-night” for a reason we competence be thinking. Instead, a soft-spoken story vital in a dorm room opposite a gymnasium and we sat together in a yellow bean bag chair for several hours, articulate nonstop, training about any other’s family and beliefs, gradually chipping divided during a possess defenses. Why? Because removing to that exhilarating, terrifying indicate where we trust someone with your heart involves an fundamentally delayed dance.

“Folly”‘s Matt Friedman (Robert Najarian) articulates this thought immediately, announcing – while directly addressing a assembly and providing a bit of carnival – that a story you’re about to see unfold, if all goes as planned, should have a feel of a waltz.

Matt – a 42 year aged accountant and Jewish newcomer who lives in St. Louis – has returned to Lebanon, Missouri, where he, one year earlier, vacationed and had a weeklong intrigue with Sally Talley (Aphrodite Nikolovski), a 31 year aged nurse’s help from a wealthy, regressive Protestant family. As a play opens, a year is 1944, and Matt’s watchful for Sally in a decayed boathouse on her family’s property, yet Sally’s hypocritical hermit has threatened him, and Sally’s finished zero in a halt to inspire Matt’s fast passion. But Matt’s assured that he and Sally should be together, so he’s betting all on this one conversation, and this one night.

For this reason, Matt tells a assembly in a play’s opening monologue, he’s pulled out all a stops – since “valentines need froufrou.” But it’s eventually a Purple Rose’s pattern group that primarily packs a regretful belt when we enter a theater.

Sound engineer Tom Whalen provides some mood-setting, pre-show music, as good as a low sound of crickets, and a distant, barking dog as needed. Lighting engineer Dana L. White initial casts a integrate in a pink-gold heat of eve as they spar, afterwards solemnly shifts toward a bluish-white light heat as a dual characters get closer and closer to divulgence their many unpleasant secrets. And Christianne Myers provides a ideal modest-but-sheer, dim pinkish delegate (and relating heels) for Sally that creates Matt say, “You can follow me divided or we can put on a flattering dress. But we can’t put on a flattering dress to come down here and follow me away.”

Sarah Pearline designed a outline boathouse set, that is gorgeously realized, finish with creaking boards, latticework, furious reeds, and an huge full moon. And column engineer Danna Segrest fills out a design with precisely a kind of detritus that ends adult in an aged garage or boathouse – chairs, aged pails, fold-up tables, ice skates (which play a purpose as Matt gets an unpretentious skating doctrine from Sally), and other long-forgotten items.

Angie Kane Ferrante leads a prolongation – that runs a bit over 90 minutes, with no mangle – with an eye keenly focused on a play’s romantic shifts. At times, however, a actors’ restraint seemed overly busy, as if they were pacing, caged animals. Of course, this might be precisely a feel Ferrante was going for, given Matt and Sally’s circumstances, though it nonetheless pulled me out of a story now and then. (It should be remarkable that a opening we watched was a preview, so prolongation sum are still being ironed out before a show’s central opening on Friday, Apr 10.)

Nikolovski still seems to be operative on coherence per her Southern-ish accent – it was complicated when she initial appeared, afterwards seemed to vacillate – though she’s constrained to watch. Though she ardently argues that there’s no reason for Matt to stay, a gloomy hints of pain and emotional that register on Nikolovski’s face never totally disappear. And Najarian creates a nebbish-y, clever, infrequently infuriating Matt someone we base for, if for no other reason than his unshakeable tenacity. Yes, we questioned a stubborn approach Matt finally gets Sally to exhibit her story – it seemed to limit on bullying – though maybe a problem-solving accountant knows this is a usually approach to mangle by her defenses.

Because, as Matt insightfully records progressing in a play, “People are eggs. … We have to be clever not to crash adult opposite any other and moment a shells.”

The irony lies in a fact that we all resist, with a vengeance, someone who aims to moment a shell, while concurrently emotional for him/her to do only that. But this antithesis is what creates “Talley’s Folly,” some-more than 35 years after the premiere, a valentine that retains the charms.

“Talley’s Folly” plays during Chelsea’s Purple Rose Theatre by May 23. For some-more information, call 734-433-7673 or revisit

Jenn McKee is an party contributor for The Ann Arbor News. Reach her during or 734-623-2546, and follow her on Twitter @jennmckee.

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