EMAV Review: Fit’s ‘Folly’ not Foolish at all ★★★★☆

Updated: Mar 20, 2019

★★★★☆ - Delicious

A Public Fit Theatre Company says they love talking about theater, and they love talking about it with you. The group gives a monthly, staged play-reading and invites the audience to join in a discussion about it after, a talk-back known as “The Buzzz.” These offerings are free to the public, and while the actors perform with book in hand each piece gets a full-length rendering. Their first show of 2016 was a reading of Lanford Wilson’s 1980 Pulitzer Prize-winning one-act “Talley’s Folly,” held Friday at The Inspire Theater. The production was exceptionally polished despite having had a short rehearsal period and minimal staging, and the mood of the audience was relaxed and happy, as if a roomful of friends had gathered to see the show.

Although the reading had moments both tender and funny, “Folly” is by no means a light-hearted play. It takes place on the evening of Independence Day, 1944, a time when World War II was in full swing. Matt Friedman (Timothy Cummings) has come to visit Sally Talley (Kelli Andino) at the Talley Farm near Lebanon, Missouri, meeting up secretly in the dilapidated boathouse where she goes to find refuge from her family. It’s been a year since they were last together, during a week-long romance they had when Matt vacationed in her hometown. Smitten, he wrote her a letter almost every day through the year, and persisted even when Sally barely acknowledged him. Now he has barged back into her life and “steady in his purposes” has come to collect her.