Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Roundabout Gives Us Two Former Spinsters - Rosemary Sydney and Sally Talley

Elizabeth Marvel as Rosemary Sydney and Sarah Paulson as Sally Talley
There is a scene in William Inge's 1950s play Picnic where aging schoolteacher Rosemary begs her boyfriend to marry her. She says:
Come back here, Howard. I'm no spring chicken either. Maybe I'm a little older than you think I am. I've formed my ways too. But they can be changed. They gotta be changed. It's no good livin' like this, in rented  rooms, meetin' a bunch of old maids for supper every night, then comin'  back home alone. 
Later, desperate on her knees, she pleads,
Oh, God, please marry me, Howard. Please. 

The Roundabout Theatre Company seems to be fascinated with the spinster because we meet yet another one - Sally Talley - in Lanford Wilson's Pulitzer Prize winning Talley's Folly, a "no-holds-barred romantic story." Not as desperate as Rosemary, 31 year old Sally Talley has accepted her situation in life in this play which takes place on July 4, 1944 in Lebanon Missouri by closing herself off.  

So, what happens in the end? Minor Spoiler Alert Here!! Fueled by alcohol (and the possible side effects of PCT), Rosemary caves to her desperation and coerces the reluctant Howard. And Sally cracks her shell and exposes her secrets. This pays off for both women, and the former spinsters run off and presumably get married.

Now, on the day I saw the Broadway production of Picnic, there was a large group of young kids at the American Airlines Theatre. The kids probably not quite getting the Rosemary scene found it funny and laughter spread amongst them in the center orchestra of the theater. As I sat in the right orchestra, I cringed at her breakdown but was partially comforted that in 2013, such desperation wasn't obvious to the group of kids and was even laughable.

No comments:

Post a Comment