Skip Navigation
Falvey Library
You are exploring: Home > Blogs

Posterity Playwright Chats About Her New Villanova Show Opening: Four Fast Questions with Wendy MacLeod

Courtesy of Wendy MacLeod

The fashions change, the time changes, and the things that imperil our children change, but the love remains the same.

-Wendy MacLeod, Playwright, on her play Posterity, the new Villanova Theatre production 

By Shawn Proctor

Villanova Theatre presents Posterity, opening tomorrow, Nov. 9-19, and we were able to sit down with the playwright Wendy MacLeod to discuss her process and experience of bringing this new show to life with Villanova Professor and Director Edward Sobel, MFA.

Show notes: Through interlocking stories spanning centuries – from the Civil War to 9/11 and up to the present moment – three families seek connection, meaning and solace through the modern miracle of photography. As she brings to life intimacies between parents, children, siblings and lovers, award-winning playwright Wendy MacLeod brilliantly conjures the universal longing to freeze time and cling to those we hold dear forever. Performed by graduate acting students at Villanova. Content advisory below.

Courtesy of Villanova Theatre

Why did you choose to stage Posterity at Villanova?

It was because of my relationship with Ed (Sobel). We’ve worked together on at least two projects, and he’s a wonderful director. A wonderful dramaturg. I thought it would be great to workshop the play, taking advantage of his dramaturgical expertise. The facilities are also gorgeous. I had no idea how gorgeous until I arrived for rehearsal!

Tell me about the process of developing the play.

I didn’t do a lot of rewriting during the rehearsal process. Ed had seen a very early reading of the play on Zoom, and we did a little reshaping based on the fluidity of the scenes through time. We reordered some scenes because we wanted to make sure that somebody didn’t have to go offstage in a Civil War costume and immediately come back in contemporary mode.

Ed is such an experienced director and dramaturg of new plays that he knows the way playwrights work. He’s never prescriptive about “you should do this or you should do that.”

Michael Hollinger has been a wonderfully supportive artistic director, and a wonderful team of people are working on the play.

Photography is a big part of Posterity, and so the use of the slide projections are very important. We’re exploring how people use photographs to get through their grief. Are there photographs that violate people’s grief, like the “Falling Man” photo from 9-11, or are they part of history? What photos are a comfort? Do photographs actually steal your memories of the people because you no longer see the memories, only the photographs?

Posterity uses dual roles (*see more about this technique below)–the same actors in different roles in very contrasting time periods. How did that artistic choice help you tell this particular story?

I was interested in exploring the way that families are the same across time. So a mother’s love for her son going off to the Civil War is the same as a mother’s love for her child going off to boarding school, especially when you know the boy ends up having mental health issues that imperil his life.

The fashions change, the time changes, and the things that imperil our children change, but the love remains the same.

Is there anything you feel patrons should know beforehand to best be prepared to experience the performance?

The audience needs to understand that the same actors will be playing different characters, so I hope they aren’t confused by that. Also, in some ways, this is difficult subject matter. Death and suicide are part of this play. It’s dealt with a fairly light touch, so it’s not manipulative.

I hope people will come and be the play’s first audience!

Content advisory: Death, suicide.


* Did you know… you probably know a famous theatre production that uses dual roles? Hamilton, the breakout Broadway hit, featured several dual roles, including Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, John Laurens/Philip Hamilton, and Hercules Mulligan/James Madison!

Did you also know that Falvey has the complete libretto of Hamilton, including production notes and alternative lyrics? Check it out today!


Shawn Proctor Head shot

Shawn Proctor, MFA, is a Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Library.



No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment


Last Modified: November 8, 2023

Ask Us: Live Chat
Back to Top