THE STORY: The scene is the ornate, deserted Victorian boathouse on the Talley place in Lebanon, Missouri; the time 1944. Matt Friedman, an accountant from St. Louis, has arrived to plead his love to Sally Talley, the susceptible but uncertain daughter of the family. Bookish, erudite, totally honest, and delightfully funny, Matt refuses to accept Sally’s rebuffs and her fears that her family would never approve of their marriage. Charming and indomitable, he gradually overcomes her defenses, telling his innermost secrets to his loved one and, in return, learning hers as well. Gradually he awakens Sally to the possibilities of a life together until, in the final, touching moments of the play, it is clear that they are two kindred spirits who have truly found each other—two “lame ducks” who, in their union, will find a wholeness rare in human relationships.
Winner of both the 1980 Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award as best play of the season. Part of a cycle of plays begun with Fifth of July, TALLEY’S FOLLY deals with the courtship of the young Sally Talley and her Jewish suitor, Matt Friedman. “…Mr. Wilson is one of our most gifted playwrights, a dramatist who deals perceptively with definably American themes…he introduces us to two wonderful people, humanizing and warming them with the radiance of his abundant talent. TALLEY’S FOLLY is a play to savor and cheer.” —NY Times. “It is perhaps the simplest, the most lyrical play Wilson has written—a funny, sweet, touching and marvelously written and contrived love poem for an apple and an orange.” —NY Post.