In the late 1980’s, British playwright Alan Bennett produced a series of monologues featuring the best actors in England for BBC Radio. From the time director Lana Pepper heard Maggie Smith in “A Bed Among the Lentils” in the early 1990’s, she was fascinated by the project and searched out others in the series. Now thirty years later, she is fulfilling a dream by staging three of them in a production for St. Louis Actors’ Studio, “Talking Heads.” She also hopes to some day stage the other nine Bennett monologues.
St. Louis has always had a love-hate relationship with the Mississippi River. The city depends on the river for its very existence. Yet we cursed the river for giving us too little water last fall and we now curse it for giving us too much. As is the case with so many of life’s mysteries, we need to look to poetry for insights into our complicated relationship with our river.
Seventy years ago, St. Louis native T. S. Eliot wroteThe Dry Salvages, which opens with the lines:
Somehow the notion that the 1950’s were an idyllic time in America continues to exist and people continue to idealize that decade in terms of gender confidence, family values and strong American ethics. No one remembers that 37% of (mostly poor) women worked outside the home, 11% of the population was gay and racism was rampant. Welcome to Maple and Vine , HotCity Theatre’s second production of their 2013 season. Directed by Doug Finlayson, Maple and Vine harkens back to the beginnings of HotHouse Theatre, when the scripts were provocative and surprising.