By Lanford Wilson
Directed by Gail Golden
Starring: Mike Randall, Richard Lambert,
Pamela Rose Mangus, Candice Kogut,
Justin Fiordaliso and Lucas Lloyd
THREE AND A HALF STARS
Ted Hadley, The Buffalo News
"[Golden's] cast is excellent from top to bottom. Randall perfectly nails Father Doherty... he’s a marvel here, aided by the superb Lambert, as ready-to-lose-it Niles. Stalwart actresses Mangus,
as Marion, and the always-precise Kogut, as Vita... Fiordaliso impresses as the enigmatic Don and the lanky Lloyd is fine
as the hyperactive, steroidal Zappy."
THE STORY: The scene is a small mission church in a remote part of New Mexico, where a middle-aged college professor and his lovely young wife detour unexpectedly after the highway is closed because of a possible "accident" at a nearby nuclear facility.
They are soon joined by Father Doherty, the benevolent but canny parish priest; a brilliant young Navajo doctor, Don Tabaha, who is about to leave his people (despite Father Doherty's opposition) to accept a prestigious research fellowship in California; Marion Clay, an art dealer and the widow of an important regional painter; and "Zappy" Zappala, her young paramour and a tournament class tennis player.
Confined within the church as they await the hoped for "all clear" signal the six, after an initial reserve, begin to reveal their stories to each other—their problems and possibilities, their hopes and fears, the personal crises which have brought them not only to this place but to turning points in their lives.
Sometimes brightly humorous, sometimes deeply affecting, sometimes explosively dramatic, the play becomes, in time, a parable of vocation and survival which, in exploring the lives of its characters, illuminates the human condition with a breadth of meaning and understanding which has application far beyond the context of the play itself.
About the playwright: An incredibly prolific playwright, Lanford Wilson was one of the cofounders of the Circle Repertory Company where many of his plays were first produced. He began his theatrical career in New York at the Café Cino, a small coffeehouse that specialized in avant-garde work. While there, Wilson met director Marshall W. Mason, whom he ended up collaborating with on several projects, most notably the epic play Balm in Gilead.
Circle Repertory’s first success was Wilson’s Hot L Baltimore, which ran for over one thousand performances before moving to Broadway. Wilson’s most famous works are the plays Fifth of July, Talley’s Folly, and Talley and Son, a trilogy centered on the Talley family. Talley’s Folly won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1979.
Photo by Michael Walline