Dark Comedy “The Killing of Sister George” Coming to Wool Studio Theatre
Erica Sloan – The Scoop, July 8, 2015
When it comes to radio show ratings, an audience’s perception of a star’s private life translates to reality, for better or worse. For Sister George, the star of a popular British soap opera Applehurst, her real life as an alcoholic, cigar-smoking, abusive lesbian named June Buckridge may be just too scandalous to keep the show ratings up. After BBC executives decide to kill off the beloved character she plays, June fights back, revealing her true colors like never before.
The Killing of Sister George is the first show of Max & Louie Productions’ fifth season. It’s directed by Brooke Edwards, who has worked in a creative capacity with Stellie Siteman, the artistic director of Max & Louie Productions, since acting in The Food Chain in 2002. It stars Lavonne Byers, Erin Kelley, Shannon Nara and Cooper Shaw.
Edwards says, “Dark comedy is something that Stellie and I both love—and it’s become my signature work ever since I transitioned from acting to directing. After Stellie saw a revival of [The Killing of Sister George] in New York City, she asked me to read the script, and I immediately fell in love with it.”
The script will remain the same for the upcoming production as the original show. While the adaptation for the 1968 feature film included lesbian sex scenes that earned it an unusual X rating, the scandalous activities occurring in June Buckridge’s real life are mostly implied in the stage version.
Edwards explains, “The show was considered very progressive at the time it came out because it used lesbian characters to tell its story, but it wasn’t supposed to be about being gay. The characters’ relationships tell a story about how people use each other, and the difference between actual personalities and how we are perceived.”
The show emphasizes the ironic dichotomy between the radio star, Sister George, a beloved, holier-than-thou country nurse, and the real June Buckridge, an angry and abusive lesbian. Although the real reason that show executives decide to drop the Sister George character is not explicitly stated, it is assumed that June’s unstable personal life is at the core of the problem—not to mention her constant need to hide her reality from the world.