Bad Seed Director’s Note

There is nothing quite like a good mystery or thriller.
I have always enjoyed directing a script that brings a
chill to the audience. Here at PCPH, I particularly
liked the audience reaction to I’ll Be Back Before
Midnight and Angel Street. My assignment for this year
is a bit different. Bad Seed by Maxwell Anderson is more
melodrama than mystery – we know from the beginning what
is going on. What intrigues me about this script – and
the William March novel it is based on – is how the other
characters in the play react to what they learn. At any
given moment onstage, secrets threaten to spill out and
destroy lives and relationships. The play was a great
success on Broadway. While the 1950’s has been portrayed
as a decade of carefree innocence, the reality is somewhat
different. The memory of World War II was still fresh –
the threat of worldwide nuclear destruction was omnipresent.
Psychoanalysis was seen as a cure for what was ailing the
Miltown generation. The film version from 1956 featured many
of the performers from the Broadway cast. Three of the women
involved received Academy Award Nominations (Nancy Kelly as
Christine, Eileen Heckert as Mrs. Daigle, and Patty McCormick
as Rhoda). Watching it today, the film seems almost fatally
stage bound. The performances seemed aimed at not just the
balcony of the theater but at the balcony of the theater down
the street. The censorship restrictions of the time demanded
that the ending be changed. No one could commit a crime and go
unpunished onscreen. As was the custom in films at that time,
a bullet through the head was indicated by a pristine white
towel wrapped around a barely ruffled hairstyle. And in true
Greek drama fashion, the gods punished the guiltiest one.
I hope that we can present Bad Seed in a genuine way. Certainly
it is well-known now for its “camp” value. There is certainly
some humor in the script that can be explored, but the questions
it poses about relationships and nature versus nurture can still
be thought-provoking today. We are not doing the movie version
onstage, instead we are exploring the script in a way that I
think will interest you, the audience, and be challenging to us
as director and performers. I am looking for actors and actresses
with some experience. I hope we can make Bad Seed a unique
experience for all involved.
Jack Randall Earles

Director Jack Randall Earles first started at
Putnam County Playhouse as a dancer in the
revue An Evening With Cole Porter. He has been
active with PCPH since then as a director,
choreographer, and performer. Last season, he
directed Guys & Dolls and appeared as Banjo in
The Man Who Came to Dinner. Some of his other
directorial assignments include The Pajama Game,
Man of La Mancha, The Rainmaker, On Borrowed
Time, and The Curious Savage. Jack Randall has
appeared in The Drowsy Chaperone, The Sunshine
Boys, The Music Man, The Diary of Anne Frank,
and The Prisoner of Second Avenue. Jack Randall
is a 4-time winner of the Upstage Award for his
performances in Show Boat (directed by Vickie
Parker), Father of the Bride & Cheaper By the
Dozen (both directed by Ernie Ford) and The Man
Who Came to Dinner (directed by Ric McFadden).