“It’s not a total ‘Few Good Men’ drama, but it’s not a total Carol Burnett comedy either.”
That’s technical director Jim Zimmerman’s short assessment of Marathon Community Theatre’s newest reading, “Talley’s Folly,” opening next Friday, Nov. 5.
Directed by Jerry Nussenblatt, “Talley’s Folly” is a one-act show following a single night in the lives of unlikely lovers Matt Friedman (Jacob Terpos) and Sally Talley (Dayanara Terpos). Set in 1944, one month after D-Day, the story details Matt’s last-ditch effort to visit the Talley farm and woo Sally, whom he dated for about a week one year earlier. As a Jewish accountant 12 years older than Sally, Matt faces steep opposition from Sally’s conservative, wealthy Protestant family — and Sally herself.
Nussenblatt says the show’s accolades first attracted him to the script when he made the choice to direct. “It was a Pulitzer prize winning story in 1980, and some very famous actors played in it,” said Nussenblatt, citing Judd Hirsch’s performance as the original Matt Friedman.
He also enjoyed the contrast between the tone of the show and MCT’s four comedic main-stage productions in its 2021-2022 season. “I read it, and said, ‘Wow. We’re doing all comedies this year. This would be the perfect counterpoint.’”
To be clear, Nussenblatt enjoys making audiences laugh, but believes “Talley’s Folly” provides another layer to the theatrical experience. “Laughter is great medicine, but theater should make people feel. If you’re not making people feel, then the author has failed,” he said. “Once in a while, you need something like this.”
For her part, Dayanara looks forward to breaking away from the roles in her previous four productions. “So far, every audience has told me, ‘Your character is so annoying in every show.’ This will definitely break my typecast.”
She also points to both characters’ roller coaster of emotions throughout the show as a welcome change. “What I love is that it brings up old memories and old feelings, but then there’s new feelings coming through there,” she said. “It brings in serious issues,” Nussenblatt added. “They go through a range of emotions, and it’s not flat; they’re not the same characters the whole way through.”
Terpos is thrilled for her husband Jacob to make his debut performance on an MCT stage. Jacob keeps things honest, saying that, “to keep a happy marriage, sometimes you gotta do these things.” Although it’s his first time on the stage, Nussenblatt said Jacob’s is “a meaty role to do. It’s not inconsequential.”
By Nussenblatt’s estimation, and their own, the couple have enjoyed preparing for their roles. Nussenblatt has been pleased with their work so far, adding that, “they came in well prepared, and they clearly did their homework.”
“Talley’s Folley” opens on Friday, Nov. 5, with shows on Nov. 5 and 6 at 8 p.m. A matinee performance is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 7 at 3 p.m. The show will be presented as a “reading” in which actors read from their scripts. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at www.marathontheater.org or by calling 305-743-0994.