Alan Blumenfeld joins the cast of A HOUSE NOT MEANT TO STAND at Fountain Theatre
LOS ANGELES, CA - February 7, 2011 - The Ovation award-winning Fountain Theatre ("Best Season, 2010") celebrates the centennial of Tennessee Williams' birth (March 26, 1911) with the West Coast premiere of his final play, by special permission of the Williams Estate. Simon Levy, just announced as the recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle's 2010 Milton Katselas Award for special achievement in directing, directs A House Not Meant to Stand, opening February 26 at The Fountain Theatre. Low-priced previews begin February 19.
While Williams often used drama to convey hope and desperation in human hearts, it's through this dark, expressionistic comedy that he ultimately expressed his vision of the fragile state of our world. Subtitled "a Gothic comedy," A House Not Meant to Stand brings us the blazingly dysfunctional McCorkle family in a fiercely funny, bitingly moving, turbo-charged tragicomedy that is at once searing, savage, and hilarious.
"Welcome to the wild, wonderful, wacky world of Mr. Williams," says Levy. "His last play is bold and quintessentially Tennessee, a mix of surrealism, the poetic realism we expect of him, and black comedy. Up until the very end, he continued to experiment with form and content."
Sandy Martin (Big Love, Grandma in Napoleon Dynamite) stars as Bella McCorkle, the family matriarch with visions of a family restored; Alan Blumenfeld (Heroes) is Cornelius, the blusterous father of the family; Daniel Billet (Fountain Theatre's Photograph 51) is Charlie, the McCorkle's unemployed youngest son; Virginia Newcomb (Peacock with Ellen Page, the upcoming Insert) plays Stacey, Charlie's pregnant, born-again girlfriend; Lisa Richards (Heavenly opposite Christopher Walken in Sweet Bird of Youth on Broadway, Henry Jaglom's Eating), is the cosmetic surgery-addicted neighbor Jessie Sykes; and Robert Craighead (The Bold & The Beautiful, Return of the Living Dead, Firestorm) is Emerson Sykes: schemer, womanizer and fellow Moose Lodge brother. Rounding out the ensemble are Kevin High, Chip Bent and Caroline Treadwell (Stacey alternate).
A House Not Meant to Stand started out as a one-act entitled Some Problems for the Moose Lodge that was staged by Chicago's Goodman Theatre in 1980, along with two other one-acts under the umbrella title Tennessee Laughs. At the urging of Goodman artistic director Gregory Mosher, Williams returned to his home in Key West to expand it into a full-length play. Williams called House a "Southern Gothic spook sonata," a deliberate reference to an August Strindberg play known as The Ghost Sonata in its English translation. The McCorkle's crumbling house is a metaphor for contemporary society, while the characters are drawn from the Williams family: his father Cornelius, his aunt Belle, his paternal grandfather, and his brother Dakin. When the play opened in late April 1982, Time called it the best play Williams had written in a decade, "inhabited by a rich collection of scarred characters." It was published for the first time in 2008 by New Directions.
Set design for A House Not Meant to Stand is by Jeff McLaughlin; lighting design is by Ken Booth; costume design is by Naila Aladdin-Sanders; sound design is by Peter Bayne; prop master is Misty Carlisle; dialect coach is JB Blanc; fight choreography is by Doug Lowry; assistant stage manager is Terri Roberts; and the production stage manager is Elna Kordijan. Stephen Sachs and Deborah Lawlor produce for The Fountain Theatre.
Simon Levy's directing credits at the Fountain include Opus (currently nominated for four LADCC awards including Production and Ensemble), Photograph 51; The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore; The Gimmick, starring Dael Orlandersmith (winner, 2007 L.A. Ovation Award for Solo Performance); Master Class (winner, Ovation Award for Best Production); Daisy in the Dreamtime; Going to St. Ives (which went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival); The Night of the Iguana; Summer & Smoke (winner, Ovation Award for Best Production); The Last Tycoon, which he wrote and directed (5 Back Stage West Garland awards, including Best Adaptation and Direction); and Orpheus Descending (6 Drama-Logue awards, including Best Production and Direction). What I Heard About Iraq, which he wrote and directed, has been produced worldwide, including at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it won the Fringe First Award; the Adelaide Fringe Festival where it won the Fringe Award; by BBC Radio; and received a 30-city UK tour culminating in London. His stage adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby inaugurated the new Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis and is in planning stages for a London production. His trilogy of Fitzgerald stage adaptations includes Tender is the Night, winner of the PEN USA Award for Drama.