Midnight and Moll Flanders
A Girl of the Limberlost
Jean Bernstein Photos
Mattie's brilliant older brother Jamie told her stories of ancient myths when she was growing up in Galena, Illinois. As a lonely girl of fourteen she said goodbye to the Jamie she knew when he married and flew across the globe to pursue a career in archaeology rather than the family mining business. On a dig in Lebanon in 1968, he had a break with reality and changed profoundly. As the play begins in 1998, an international inquiry compels Mattie, now married and working for the family business in Chicago, to investigate the provenance of an ancient pot found on Jamie's Dig. The process brings to the surface her buried feelings of abandonment and questions about his breakdown– and reveals the underlying power of the myths that he once taught her. Through scenes intersplicing time and place, the play explores psychology, mythology and relationship. As Mattie strives to protect Jamie from a potentially traumatic trial, she remembers him as the loving brother before the Dig. She recalls the stories of the stars and Greek myths he told her as a child and ultimately learns to accept him as he is.
SET AND CAST
THE DIG needs a single set that should be simple and versatile, since the play has many quick jumps in time and space.
THE DIG requires five actors (three playing one character each; two playing multiple roles):
MATTIE - (40s) Married, somewhat "stuck" businesswoman, once an inquiring spirit from an Illinois industrialist family, now living in Chicago.
JAMIE - (50s) Mattie's brother, once a promising archaeologist, now reclusive and mentally ill, living in Chicago.
YOUNG JAMIE - (20s) Bright, charming, gifted student of archaeology in late 1960s; kind and attentive to his young sister, he tells her ancient myths and stories to help her live life as an adventure.
MULTIPLE ROLE FEMALE (20s-70s) - Prof. Caldwell, Leah, Mrs. Graves, Mère, Ms. Smith.
MULTIPLE ROLE MALE (20s-60s) - Tom, Prof. Stone, Peddler, Frankie, Doc.
THE DIG premiered at Renaissance Theaterworks in January 2009 to critical and audience acclaim. THE DIG also received two public readings, a professional workshop, and development at Sewanee Writers' Conference with Melanie Marnich and Lee Blessing.
- Production: Renaissance Theaterworks, Milwaukee, WI, January 2009
- Staged Reading: Taliesin Preservation, Spring Green, WI, September 2008
(Act I); The Playwrights' Center, Minneapolis, MN, June 2007
- Workshop: Sewanee Writers' Conference, July 2007
- Workshop/Reading: (Act I) Madison Repertory Theatre, Madison, WI, November 2005
Susan Smith Blackburn Prize - Nominee 2009
Playwrights' Center Lab
- Finalist 2009
- Semi-Finalist 2009
A SAMPLING OF AUDIENCE RESPONSE