“My Witch” Perfect on-Stage Celebration on Halloween Day


Actress Jean Tafler in a Light Moment Following Today’s Final Production of “My Witch” – the Story of Character Actress Margaret Hamilton.

New York City Actress Jean Tafler Puts on Her Best Witch Face for “My Witch”

The First Parish Church Sanctuary, 40 Main Street, Freeport,  was Temporarily Converted into a Stage for the Halloween Weekend  Presentation of “My Witch.”

Cape Island Purchased by Actress Margaret Hamilton is Now Owned by Her Three Grandchildren; Scott,  Chris and Margaret.  Sometimes Called the Witch’s Island, it is Located off Southport Island, Near  Boothbay Harbor.

While young witches and their moms scurried around the busy streets of Freeport this afternoon scooping up Halloween treats, their elders were inside a newly minted and packed theater, listening to New York actress Jean Tafler,  beautifully describe the journey of the most famous witch of all time – the late Margaret Hamilton.  She was the wicked witch in the classic 1939 film –  “The Wizard of Oz.” – at witch time Hamilton developed a life-long relationship with the young star Judy Garland.

A reading of the one-woman play was presented three years ago by Snowlion Rep Co. in downtown Portland with Tafler the star then as now. Hamilton’s son and daughter-in-law attended that performance as did this blogger.

John Ahlin, the playwright who is also married to actress Tafler, said that about 25% of this iteration was new material since that occasion three years ago. To this blogger, it seemed like a higher percentage was of new material from the 2018 reading in downtown Portland. Some original material was clearly deleted. But that made room for more personal and thus interesting anecdotes about Hamilton herself.

Whatever.  The 1 1/2 hour play packs a full wallop of heartwarming, poignant and often funny insights into the personal and professional life of the Wicked Witch.   Presenting a journey of Hamilton’s life was the goal of Tafler and her playwright  husband.  They succeeded..

“My Witch” delved into Hamilton’s youth in  Cleveland, Ohio as the youngest of four children. By the time of her birth,  Hamilton’s mother, a concert pianoist,  was allegedly too tired to mother her. So, she was primarily raised by an older sister. Hamilton’s parents were adamantly opposed  to her acting career. They saw her as an elementary school teacher – an admirable profession that would provide her with financial security.

Hamilton met her husband Paul Meserve who was a landscaper during a walk in a park in New York City.  She was instantly attracted to him because he was an incredibly handsome man.  But, following their marriage, Paul was badly injured in a fall.  He was unable to work in his chosen profession of landscaping.  That put a strain on the marriage  that it could not overcome. “I was so longing for love and attention,” said Tafler of Hamilton.  The two year marriage produced one son, Ham,85, who inherited his father’s blond good looks.

Tafler detailed Hamilton’s colleagues in Hollywood with their warts and good attributes alike.  Hamilton lived next to Shirley Temple briefly. Every holiday Temple received hundreds of gifts from adoring fans. But her mother permitted her to keep only one of them.  All the others were given away.  “Shirley Temple was never spoiled,” said Tafler.

Hamilton’s philosophy on child rearing  included:  “Your children are on loan from God.  Let go of them knowing they won’t come back.”  However, after a career in the banking industry overseas, Ham and his wife Helen did return home and became  part of her life. They visited her often on Cape Island at her summer retreat, near  Boothbay Harbor.  Hamilton’s three grandchildren were also a part of her life. She frequently took each one of them to lunch, individually, in New York City.  To this day one of them dislikes peas because she was adamant that he eat all the peas on his plate.  “Facing my fear of being alone was the best thing I did,” Tafler quoted Hamilton as believing. “Sometimes home is where we find it.  Not where we started,” was another poignant one-liner of Tafler’s.

Snowlion Rep. Co. said the play is leaving for a tour, although details were not announced..

For more background information on Margaret Hamilton and this production, please visit posts herein dated October 21, 2021 and December 9, 2018.