Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival Presents THE CHORUS GIRL PLAYS, 9/26-29
In the 1930's, before he became known as 'Tennessee,' Tom Williams was a young writer who was very enamored of the movies. During the Depression, he wrote many short plays about good time girls and tough guys with overtones of film noir that are just now being rediscovered.
Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival is presenting three of these short plays as The Chorus Girl Plays for this year's theme of "50% Illusion: Tennessee Williams and Women." Curator David Kaplan notes that "Williams watched many Broadway musical comedies where wise-cracking swell-looking dames not only survived, but prevailed. The girls in the chorus, whose figures and wits were a means to survive, became, it would seem, his templates of a lady."
Robert Chevara, a well-known European opera and theater director who directed Tennessee Williams' Vieux Carré to sold out houses in London last year, is directing The Chorus Girl Plays. He conceived of setting them in a vaudeville dance hall filled with the upbeat music of the 30s where a burlesque show is about to happen, evoking the era in which Williams was writing. "I want the audience to be thrilled by this original piece of theater and not to have seen anything like it before," Chevara says.
"These are very funny plays which also have a disturbing undercurrent that calls to mind the effects of the Depression on that era," Chevara adds. We enter that world through the opening act of the chorus line whose dancers then become the actors in the three plays. "The dancers inhabit the roles of the characters brilliantly," Chevara adds.
The grand finale in the dance hall is a burlesque show by popular Lefty Lucy, Miss Coney Island USA, 2011, known for her singular style of slapstick burlesque. She appears regularly in New York and teaches at the New York School of Burlesque.
The Chorus Line dancers/actors are from DanszLoop Chicago, a dance Ensemble led by Paula Frasz, which specializes in dance interpretations of plays and has appeared at the Festival in past years.
Founded in 2006 in the birthplace of American Modern Theater where Tennessee Williams worked on many of his major plays, the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival is the nation's largest performing arts festival dedicated to celebrating and expanding the understanding of American's great playwright. Theater artists from around the globe perform classic and innovative productions to celebrate his enduring influence in the 21st Century. The theme of this year's 8th Annual Festival is 50% Illusion: Tennessee Williams and Women. It takes place in various venues in the seaside village of Provincetown from Thursday, September 26 through Sunday, September 29, 2013. For more info see www.twptown.org.
The Festival is funded in part by the Provincetown Tourism Fund, Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, and Provincetown Cultural Council and presented by the Crown and Anchor.