By Michael Nichols
From the playwright who brought us both Relativity and Dancing Lessons, FST’s Mainstage series proudly presents the WORLD PREMIERE of Wednesday’s Child by Mark St. Germain.
The curtain rises on Becca Connor’s bloodstained living room as detectives Valez and Dixon attempt to piece together the details of her murder. Interviews with characters Susan and Martin Merrit reveal that the couple had hired Becca as a surrogate mother. Her untimely death has cost the Merrits a child, a friend, and perhaps something more. But with no enemies, less evidence, and motives that are murky at best, the detectives find themselves with nothing to stand on but a blood soaked rug.
“This play owes its existence to the persistence of Florida Studio Theatre,” said St. Germain.
“I asked Mark to write a play about the issues we don’t see on the American stage,” said FST Producing Artistic Director Richard Hopkins. “Not political issues, but human issues. I was tired of the talking heads on TV debating the same narrow margins and narrow ideologies. We need a much wider discussion on the controversial subjects that polarize our nation.”
Wednesday’s Child was Mark St. Germain’s answer—a compelling detective mystery that positions cops, lawyers, and intellectuals amidst the mayhem of murder, sex, and surrogacy, through a gripping plot and gritty, true-to-life characters.
With a dense portfolio of successful works produced throughout the United States, St. Germain is one of the most-produced contemporary playwrights in America in recent history. But Wednesday’s Child, his first mystery play, proved to be a challenging undertaking.
“At many points I was ready to put it back in the drawer,” admitted St. Germain. “But with the encouragement, and nudging from FST, I kept taking it out again.”
Unlike previous plays, St. Germain was unable to simply let this piece unfold and “reveal itself” through the creative process. Instead, Wednesday’s Child demanded dedicated and careful construction, “like a puzzle,” he continued, “and when you reach the end, you hope you have all the pieces!”
After months of writing, the play made its debut in a staged reading at FST’s 2018 Sarasota Festival of New Plays, and was presented again as a workshopped reading this past winter. Both times, the playwright had the opportunity to hear the work in progress read by professional actors and gather constructive feedback from Sarasota audiences.
And after another year of development, the play is ready to return to FST where it will make its WORLD PREMIERE on the Mainstage.
Casually eloquent, deeply provocative, and frequently funny, Wednesday’s Child elevates the classic murder mystery to a level of storytelling that is highly human. Subtly speaking to the challenges of motherhood, the limits of love, and agency over one’s own body, all while keeping eyes glued to the stage with suspense, this new play showcases Mark St. Germain’s talent for crafting genuine emotion.
Clues, like colorful tiles in a mosaic, arrange themselves one by one to reveal the whole startling truth behind Becca’s death. But even as the details slowly fall into place, and the full picture begins to emerge, so too do pressing, complex questions. What does it take to raise a child? What makes a baby “yours?” And what is life worth?