What's in a Picture?
National Geographic photographer B. Anthony Stewart placed his camera at stage rear of the Boothbay Playhouse and angled it so that he could capture the 1967 production of On Approval along with the audience’s reaction. Judging from the smiling faces of the by-and-large older crowd, the Boothbay audience rather enjoyed Frederick Lonsdale’s 1926 comedic play detailing the intersecting romances of two couples stuck on a Scottish island. And critics agreed. Burt Farnham of the Boothbay Register lauded the four actors for successfully tackling such comedically demanding dialogue. He did have one quibble. Farnham said the makeup could have been improved, as it did not accurately reflect the characters’ ages.
The photo was published the following year as part of an essay titled “The Maine Story.” It told the experience of summer through photographs, and Stewart’s carefully constructed shot was selected to illuminate the timeless quality of summer theater along the coast of Maine. He chose the location well, as even seventy-six years after it first opened, the Boothbay Playhouse has maintained its rustic charm and continues to put on farcical productions for the summer community. The latest season featured Monty Python’s Spamalot. The Boothbay Register called it “cracking good fun” and complimented the actors’ comedic timing. No word on the makeup, however. — Will Bleakley
Photo B. Anthony Stewart/National Geographic Stock