Farmingtown is a quaint village in which news is passed by the town crier, the main employment is farming and working in the morgue, and the men all go off to war while the women stay home. The women have adjusted well to this man-free life, taking charge of all systems and businesses in town. They're in for a shock when one John Ploughman returns from war, discharged due to an injury. The more than 20 women depicted in the play (portrayed by just five actors) all react to him in a different way, from the aforementioned inhaling, to surprise, to skepticism, to a determination to win him. Lacking the necessary paperwork to prove that he's not dead as was announced, John faces a tough road readjusting to life in Farmingtown. He's searching for a woman he knew before the war, a woman he now loves but scorned in the past, when he was a bit of a playboy. It turns out Flora Crisp has been pining after him all these long years, or at least the idea of him. But this isn't your typical love story; the people of Farmingtown find love and fulfillment in different ways, as the war ends and a new chapter of their lives begins.
|John Ploughman at the bar (Ron Menzel with Shá Cage,|
Photo by Paula Keller)
|three of the bewigged women of Forget Me Not When Far Away|
(Elise Langer, Shá Cage, Karen Wiese-Thompsonm
photo by Paula Keller)
- Sun Mee Chomet as the wounded Flora, the tough landlady, and the steady barkeep
- Annie Enneking as a prim and proper government worker, John's ex, and a singer at the bar (singing songs she wrote)
- Elise Langer as a possibly drunken postal worker, a ditsy blond, the town crier, and perhaps my favorite character - a little boy who's slightly off but open and loving and wise
- Karen Wiese-Thompson as a cigarette-smoking trench coat-wearing PI, a dentist, and Flora's concerned grandmother
- Shá Cage as a fortune teller, a timid little girl, and a woman chasing after John who turns out to be a good friend
Forget Me Not When Far Away is a delightful story about returning home, reconnecting, and re-establishing your identity in a changed world. Like other TTT productions, the show feels like the neighborhood kids have gotten together to put on a play in someone's backyard, if your neighborhood were populated with some of the most talented theater artists in town. Paid public performances continue at the Minnesota Opera Center and Open Book through the end of May. Go see it, and then make plans for next season when TTT continues their pattern of Shakespeare-musical-new play with Henry IV Part I, Dear World, and Changelings by Kira Obolensky.
*To find out more about the magic of TTT, check out founder and Artistic Director Michelle Hensley' book All the Lights On.
This article also appears on Broadway World Minneapolis.