!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: "Long May She Wave"

Saturday, May 02, 2009

"Long May She Wave"

Last night a friend and I went to the Basilica of the Holy Apostles (which used to be the Masonic Lodge) in Springfield MA to see the opening performance of "Long May She Wave," a wonderfully entertaining comedy by John McCallum.

A vintage postcard showing the Masonic Temple, built in 1926 in Springfield, Massachusetts, by the architectural firm McClintock & Craig. The building was sold in 2007 and is now the Basilica of the Holy Apostles.

"Long May She Wave" is set in New York City in the 1980s, which is also the period in which it was written. The plot centers on the efforts of a widow, Jill Mendel (played by Elaine Robinson Scott), to get a wind generator built on the roof of her brownstone so she and her tenants can continue to have electricity even though she is finding it impossible to pay her bills to the electric company.

A scene from "Long May She Wave"
(JELUPA Productions, Inc.)

The three tenants are a potpourri. Willie (Robert Smith and Marcus Pitts) is a middle aged man with plenty of common sense, a quality Jill sometimes seems to have tossed aside as she struggles with her financial problems. Brenda (Lynette E. Johnson) is a 20ish woman who is focused — very focused — on fashion and self-grooming. Sparky (James H. Lightfoot) is a young man who does what he can to help everyone, and eventually ends up a "close personal friend" of Brenda despite their Mars-Venus differences in personality. The other main character is Martina Mendel (Janine Wilson Suttles), Jill's daughter, who has decided that her mother can no longer handle home ownership and so is bent on getting mom to move into some sort of old folks home.

The play was directed by L'Kuicha Parks, who is also the executive and artistic director of JELUPA Productions, Inc., the organization that produced the play. According to its mission statement,
JELUPA Productions, Inc. is a vehicle for cultivation and addressing the needs of minority artists in the Greater Springfield area. We bring quality productions that showcase, relate and involve minority artists in the area. JELUPA Productions, Inc. will showcase work of social, spiritual and cultural values, as well as entertain.
Sadly, John McCallum died of a heart attack in 1989, when he was only 36 years old.