Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble – Free Play Reading Series
In her professional acting career, Shelley Delaney has portrayed Joan of Arc and Lady Macbeth. But there was always one person she wanted to tackle: Tammy Faye Bakker. Most people know Tammy Faye as the wife of disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker and for her extravagant makeup. But Tammy Faye had a way of staying in front of the camera throughout her life; her final appearance on Larry King Live in 2007 took place hours before her death from colon cancer.
“I had always been fascinated by Tammy Faye Bakker, even in graduate school when I stumbled onto the PTL club quite by accident,” Ms. Delaney explained. “The theatricality, seeming innocence, and lack of irony riveted me. But it wasn’t until her final interview with Larry King that I got the notion I wanted to explore (as an actor) what made her tick as a human being.”
Ms. Delaney had worked with playwright Merri Biechler in the past, directing her play “An Appalachian Christmas Carol” and acting in her play “Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver.” But Ms. Biechler had never written a role specifically for Ms. Delaney. “We’re good friends, and I trust her theatrical instincts completely. When she said she wanted to play Tammy Faye, I said okay! Then the real work began of digging through documents and hours of video research to find the story beneath the façade.”
Ms. Delaney agrees. “I’m struck with Tammy Faye’s apparent authenticity, her unflappable nature, and of course the mask of makeup. What's behind it all? I’m only beginning to have a hint, which is what makes it so appealing and challenging.”
A first draft of the play entitled “Tammy Faye’s Final Audition” will be presented as part of Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble’s Free Play Reading Series at 8pm on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at ARTS/West, 132 W. State Street, Athens, OH. Admission is free. The reading is directed by Dennis Lee Delaney and features Shelley Delaney in the title role and David Haugen as multiple roles including Jim Bakker. The play is supported by an Ohio University College of Fine Arts Creative Research Award.
“Brick Monkey audiences are very supportive of new play development,” Ms. Biechler explained. “Our audience gets the chance to see this very early draft and have the opportunity to watch two talented actors craft their roles. It’s an exciting process!”
Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble is generously supported by the Ohio Arts Council, the Kleinpenny Educational Fund, the Athens Foundation, the O’Bleness Foundation, and the Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau.