DAISY presented by Falcon Theatre is available online through Nov. 7.
DAISY chronicles the beginnings of the fear-mongering advertising that has become such a staple of our political discourse.
“Daisy“, sometimes known as “Daisy Girl” or “Peace, Little Girl“, was a controversial political advertisement aired on television during the 1964 United States presidential election by incumbent president Lyndon B. Johnson’s campaign. Though only officially aired once by the campaign, it is considered to be an important factor in Johnson’s landslide victory over Barry Goldwater and an important turning point in political and advertising history. It remains one of the most controversial political advertisements ever made.
The script by Sean Devine is interesting and disturbing in equal measure and does debate the ethical ramifications of this new approached to political advertising. Multiple themes of today are echoed in the events of almost 65 years ago.
Director Tara Williams has assembled a solid ensemble to bring these characters to life. Jay Dallas Benson as Sid Myers and David Levy as Tony Schwartz did well in creating fully realized characters. There were several times however when the emotions of the scene and the interaction of the characters did not quite ring true for me. In part because the actors were not performing at the same energy level.
In the press release for Daisy, Williams describes the performance as a “television/theater hybrid” in the vein of CBS’ Playhouse 90 from 60 years ago and I think that concept worked well in the filming. Given the limitations imposed by the pandemic on both cast and crew, and the typical budget of a staged performance, Falcon has done a great job of finding locations, costumes and props to establish the time period and atmosphere of the piece (with much support from our local arts community).
Understanding that this is new territory, and as with anything new there is a bit of a learning curve, if your organization pursues another production in this format I would mention a few things: The staging did become a bit stagnant with actors sitting/standing in the same spot for extended periods of time. While the play area is confined, there are opportunities to stand, sit, lean forward, or shift body angle to give some energy to the scene. Normally on stage there is a concern with peripheral characters stealing focus in a scene but with filing and all the actors being in the shot, the characters need to be a bit more present and reactive in the scene.
Congratulations to everyone involved in bringing this timely play to life in these unprecedented time.
My rating: 4.25 out of 5.
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