THE LINGER EFFECT by Barbara Biddison
I have experienced this "linger effect'' without knowing to call it that. INTO THE BREECHES gives us Maggie who argues for casting Shakespeare's HENRIAD with women playing men's roles. Ellsworth Snow, chairman of the Board, says no, and Maggie counters his argument with her own experience of the Linger Effect. She argues that the play will lift the morale of the 1942 WW2 audience leaving "a glow that lasts for days, weeks, sometimes a lifetime."
I thought back on my own lifetime of attending live theatre productions, and I found, without half-trying, many plays that fit the description. I went for a pretty recent one, THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME with Rob Garrison in the lead role. It still leaves a glow now and I'm pretty sure I'll remember it for the rest of my life. One vivid "picture" for me is of the young man sitting on the floor letting his pet rat (a real one) out of the cage and affectionately playing with it. No fear that it would get away, just calm attention to the rat. It lingers. The play lingers.
I already know that BREECHES will linger for me, and not just because I'm assisting in rehearsals, The scene on the fire escape, with Stuart and Ida, entered the linger category for me when I first read the play. Now the whole thing is there. Winifred is such a hoot, and I totally believe in her transformation, as unlikely as it is. The auditionees, June and Grace, are funny and sad and eager and missing their husbands. And there's Celeste, the diva, who thinks highly of herself. All 8 characters are memorable, they linger. When the costume designer ends up in a sword fight and the conservative board president dresses up in a way that you wouldn't expect, you're bound to experience the linger effect.
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