Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Talley & Son' Brings Acrimony in a Family to Light

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Talley & Son' Brings Acrimony in a Family to Light

Article excerpt

"Talley & Son" is the most recent and least-often performed of Lanford Wilson's plays of about the Talley family of his native Lebanon, Mo. The neglect is difficult to understand in light of the Kirkwood Theater Guild's engrossing production of the play.

The action in "Talley & Son" takes place on July 4, 1944, the same evening depicted in "Talley's Folly," the Pulitzer Prize-winning play that opened Wilson's Talley cycle. "Talley's Folly" presented Sally's Talley's escape from the stifling influence of her family. "Talley & Son" shows what she was escaping from.

Though "Talley & Son" is a conventional play in many ways, it has an unconventional narrator. Timmy Talley, the youngest son, has just been killed while serving in the Pacific theater of World War II. He was to have come home on leave a few days later. Instead, his death is announced by telegram to the rest of the assembled family.

Besides adding a spiritual quality to everything that happens around him, Timmy's commentary is a great help in providing an orientation in the maze of intrigue that has brought the Talleys to their present condition.

The wealthy patriarch, Calvin Stuart Talley, is near the end of his life. He is not always in control of his faculties, but when he is, he uses his wits and his wealth as weapons to show his contempt for his relatives. His son Eldon is embroiled in a bitter controversy with his business partner over a buyout offer for the family business. …

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