Despite COVID-19, Falcon Theatre, based in Newport, KY, has forged ahead with its first production this season. But you don’t have to go to their storefront theater to see it. Instead, it’s available from the comfort of your living room or computer screen or iPhone. Working with Northern Kentucky University’s College of Informatics, the ambitious team has produced a film version of the stage play, “Daisy.”
From their press release:
“In 1964, the New York advertising firm Doyle Dane Bernbach forever changed the course of political advertising with a 60-second television spot. Today, the ad is usually referred to simply as “Daisy.” The black-and-white ad featured a three-year-old girl in a simple dress standing in a sunny field. The girl counted aloud as she plucked the petals from a daisy. When the last petal had been plucked, the girl’s voice was supplanted by an adult voice ominously counting backward from ten as the camera zoomed to an extreme close-up of the girl’s eye. As the countdown reached “zero,” the image was replaced with horrifying footage of a nuclear explosion.”
Tara Williams, the director, says, “Daisy is a play that we have wanted to stage for a few years at Falcon, and we’ve been holding onto it until an election year because the play chronicles the beginnings of political attack ads.”
“Daisy” is a timely production, given this week’s election — but it hearkens us back to a simpler time in some respects. But despite the primitive period in which it is set (as far as media is concerned), the ethical dilemmas discussed by the ad executives in this story seem as relevant now as they were then.
There are some nice moments from Lisa D. Dirkes, who has long deserved a starring opportunity. I also enjoyed the work of Bill Keeton, who seemed the most consistently natural on screen. David Levy also excels (which is typical when he makes rare theatrical appearances.) Jay Dallas Benson, Terry Gosdin, and R. D’Andre Smith round out the cast. The production quality is high with some great location shots and well-filmed yet simple scenes.
Kudos to the crew at Falcon Theatre for finding a way to flex their creative wings this year despite so many barriers. You can buy a pass to stream the show here through November 7th.