CHICAGO, Ill. – UMF alumnus Zack Peercy’s new play, “Muffed,” is based on Farmington’s Chester Greenwood Day.
Peercy, a disabled playwright and screenwriter, currently lives in the Chicago area. He graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington with a BFA in Creative Writing and a BA in Theatre Writing & Performance in 2017. Since then, he has written several plays, including “Hard Boiled Eggnog: A Christmas Noir,” “Muted.,” and “Essential Starlite,” which was a 2021 Finalist for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference.
“Muffed” is a play inspired by his time in Farmington. The mockumentary-style play revolves around a theater company as they perform a play about the town. In the play, the Meaningful Action Theatre Company does a workshop reading of a play about their trip to Farmington, recounting their interviews with the townspeople about the 43rd annual Chester Greenwood Day celebration.
“It’s a play within a play,” Peercy explained. “The actors portray different townspeople, give a brief history of Chester Greenwood and Lillian Nordica, and do their best to describe the town, the university, and the people.”
When Peercy arrived in Maine for college, coming from Pennsylvania, he experienced a level of culture shock. He remembered how nice the people were, as well as “a bit strange, in charming ways.” He tried to duplicate this small-town feel in “Muffed.” The reason Peercy chose to frame his story with Farmington’s local holiday celebrating earmuff inventor Chester Greenwood was because no one ever believed him when he talked about it.
“It’s not so much about Maine and Farmington as it is about a small town embracing outsiders and showing them how to open their hearts,” Peercy said. “I wrote about Farmington because I’m thankful for my time there.”
The play takes a similar form to “The Laramie Project,” which Peercy was a part of during his time at UMF. He compared it to “Drop Dead Gorgeous” and “What We Do In The Shadows.”
“Muffed” had a successful opening night on Friday, January 20. It will be performed at the Three Brothers Theatre in Waukegan, Illinois every Friday and Saturday nights through February 25.
L.C. Bernadine, a Chicago playwright who saw the opening performance, described the play as “an inventive, hilarious portrait of a small town theater company battling the most eccentric of forces as they interview community residents and attempt to devise a piece celebrating the local (and real!) small town hero Chester Greenwood, inventor of the earmuff…”
Peercy is on all social media with @zackpeercy and his plays can be found on the New Play Exchange website.