Max and Louie Productions opens 5th season with ‘The Killing of Sister George’

Evita Caldwell – St. Louis Public Radio, July 10, 2015

Max and Louie Productions will kick off its 5th season with the dark comedy “The Killing of Sister George.” Written by Frank Marcus, the play was named Best Play of the 1965-66 Season by The Theatre Critics Variety Poll.

“The Killing of Sister George” is viewed as a groundbreaking production. Highlighting a lesbian relationship, the initial 1965 production shocked audiences in Britain and it received an “X” rating because of its content.

“This revival is going to enable audiences to compare the play and see how Frank Marcus’ play compares to the movie,” said Estelle Siteman, artistic director for Max and Louis Productions.

“Sister George” is a production about two tales in one. It features a popular British radio soap opera with a main character, Sister George. Outside of the soap opera, though, Sister George’s real persona is June Buckridge. Unbeknownst to her coworkers, June is a closeted, abusive lesbian with a young lover.

When rumors begin to spread about June’s personal lifestyle, executives of the show fear a drop in the soap opera’s ratings. In an attempt to save the ratings, they decide to kill off Sister George’s character.

There’s more to the production, though, than the lesbian relationship, says Lavonne Byers, the actress who plays June Buckridge/Sister George. “It’s not a play about lesbianism,” she explained, “they happen to be lesbian characters. And, I think that these characters can be any combination of people.”

“There so much more to it than the lesbian aspect,” added Erin Kelley, who plays the role of Mrs. Mercy Croft. “It’s really about all the faces we put on in different relationships. There are a lot of gray areas. It’s just not all black and white.”

Ultimately, Siteman says that the meaning of play will depend on each person’s perception.

“Perception is everything,” Siteman said of the characters. “Nobody is who they seem.”