The Midnight Company's work has been driven by two motivations:
1) To tell a great story, an exciting and compelling story, a story that's like some breaking news, or fabulous new joke, or tasty bit of gossip - something that makes you want to grab the first person you see and tell it.
2) And to ask yourself whether you can pull off the telling of this story. Ideally the story, the play, should scare you, challenge you and your resources, so that you are striving to try to do the story and its telling justice.
A characteristic of Midnight's work has been playing in alternative spaces, with work that is tailored to those spaces. For example, we've produced fringe theater, including absurdist scenes set at an art exhibit, at the Contemporary Museum; a Dracula adaptation in an abandoned warehouse at the haunted Lemp Brewery complex; Irish story-telling in Irish pubs; and an original play about Jesse James on the porch of the James Farm in Kearney, MO. We've also produced work in a television production studio, a coffee house and the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill.
Our 2008-2009 season fits those criteria.
In November, we'll present MASS APPEAL by Bill C. Davis at Christ Church Cathedral. This 1980 play (subsequently turned into a movie with Jack Lemmon) concerns a traditional parish priest and a fiery young seminarian, and their clash of ideology and personality. As each tries to force the other to be a better priest, each learns more about the nature of courage, faith and friendship. (The Mass Appeal script was updated, and we'll be presenting the 2002 version of the script.)
Mass Appeal is a strong acting vehicle for two performers, and two actors who've performed with Midnight before are in the cast: Steve Springmeyer as the genial Father Farley, and Travis Hanrahan as the idealistic seminarian, Mark Dolson.
And Mass Appeal will be performed in a truly dramatic setting; the magnificent Christ Church Cathedral, an 1867 Gothic revival structure that is a National Historic Landmark.
We're hoping that the natural reverence the Cathedral evokes will underscore this important examination of true faith. The play is one of the better explorations of a question many of us ask: "What would Jesus do?"
Midnight will follow Mass Appeal with "GIVE 'EM HELL HARRY" in November 2009. This production is a select performance of the new Performing Arts Season at the Missouri History Museum. So, naturally. it is an ideal space for this one-man show, the story of one of Missouri's favorite sons, Harry S Truman.
In the past, Midnight has presented a number of one-person shows (work by Eric Bogosian, Wil Eno, Conor McPherson and Daniel MacIvor), as well as work about historic Missouri personages (The James Gang and Walt Disney). While this show is somewhat up our theatrical alley, it may be a challenge to explain and highlight Truman's accomplishments and relevance to our times.
We will be attempting to provide information, both online and in our programs, to give audiences some history and perspective on Truman. But, should we accomplish that, we feel we have a fascinating story to tell: that of the failed Missouri haberdasher from a 19th century rural upbringing who found himself in the center of some of the modern age's greatest issues - the end of World War II and the onset of the Atomic Age; the Korean War and the military challenge to civilian government leadership; the McCarthy witch hunts and their threats to our civil liberties and much more.
Our challenge will be to cogently present this momentous history while at the same time portraying Truman's down-home folksy humor and bedrock Midwestern values.
Midnight is very excited about these two great stories, and the two exciting spaces where we'll present them. We look forward to seeing you there.