Pamela Garvey’s first full-length play, “The Piddlings,” will be making its world premiere at St. Louis Community College-Meramec on Feb. 14. It is more than a show — it’s an experience.
“It is about love, but it’s also about family. And it’s about bringing your love home to your family,” said Garvey, an English professor at Meramec. “Given the climate on this campus, this is something fun and light and enjoyable, and they can come and forget all that stuff and just enjoy it.”
“The Piddlings” will be performed in the Merame Theatre Feb. 14-17 at 7:30 p.m., and on Feb.18 at 2 p.m., which will be signed interpreted for the deaf. Performances are free and open to the public.
For Garvey, this was not an easy process.
“For six weeks (during the summer), all I did was write the play, so I got three drafts done just by spending five hours a day just doing it,” said Garvey. “And my process is to write more rather than less, which is what I always teach my students.”
When school started up again, so did her busy schedule of classes and meetings. That meant more time focusing on her students and less time revising the show that would be on stage in less than eight months.
“At that point, the very beginning of December, we did auditions and once we got the cast, that really clicked for me,” she said. “Having the name, the face, the voice, all that stuff, seeing what they did with some of the scenes in the auditions and what they could do physically because it’s a lot of physical comedy.”
“The Piddlings” is a title she decided on because it means “making a big deal out of nothing.” It is about a family and their wacky and weird antics that also examines the pitfalls of “coming home” and the importance of embracing who you are and where you come from. But the show isn’t just about finding who you are – it’s also about the willingness to laugh at yourself even in a public setting.
“I made a promise to my son that I would make fun of myself,” said Garvey. “So, the mother character is not 100 percent me, but there are pieces of her that are parodies of me, like her politics and her over the top ‘let’s all be serene and good’ personality. And this drives the kids crazy of course, just like it drives my son crazy.”
As an author of two books and several one-act plays, Garvey knows that each person who experiences her work will find meaning in their own way.
“I want them to enjoy it. I want them to appreciate the humor,” she said. “In terms of what else they get from it, there’s enough ambiguity in the play that I don’t want everybody to come out of it with the same thing. There’s a theme of what love is and coming home and your family and how we accept or don’t accept our family. But what someone takes from that is up to them.”
For those who feel that in the rush of life, you’ve lost who you are, “The Piddlings” is a great way to feel like you aren’t alone.
STLCC-Meramec is located at 11333 Big Bend Road in Kirkwood.