Abrahamse & Meyer Productions to Present New Adaptation of Tennessee Williams' ONE ARM
After the international success of KINGDOM OF EARTH and THE MILK TRAIN DOESN'T STOP HERE ANYMORE, Abrahamse & Meyer Productions have been granted special permission by the Tennessee Williams Estate to adapt one of the famed playwright's most famous erotic short stories for the stage.
Written in 1942 and initially published in an expensive limited edition, ONE ARM tells of an aspiring boxer who loses his arm in a car accident and turns to prostitution for a living. The young hustler violently murders a client and is sentenced to death for this crime. On death-row, he receives hundreds of letters from former clients explaining how deeply he touched their lives. Explicit and daring, ONE ARM gives a graphic account of the homosexual underworld during 1940s while at the same time being a poignant portrait of a mutilated body and soul.
Throughout his life, Williams was excited by the dramatic potential of ONE ARM and adapted it for the screen in the late 1960s but sadly the film was never produced. In 1972, Williams wrote that he conceived ONE ARM "as a dark poem whose theme is the prevalence of mutilations among us all, and their possible transcendence."
Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer have adapted ONE ARM as a tour-de-force for two actors focusing on the central relationship between the convicted hustler and a young Lutheran Minister who visits him on death row. Picking up on the themes of voyeurism, exhibitionism and paraphilia which Williams wove into the story, the stage adaptation utilises erotic fetishism and sexual role-play as a major dramatic device in the play, by having the young Lutheran Minister voyeuristically act out all the various characters in mutilated boxer's life-story.
Meyer himself plays Oliver Winemiller, the boxer turned hustler with Nicholas Dallas as the young Lutheran Minister. Meyer has received international accolades as a Williams leading man impressing with his brooding performance as Chicken in KINGDOM OF EART as well as his sensitive reading of the Angel of Death in THE MILK TRAIN DOESN'T STOP HERE ANYMORE, while Dallas won acclaimed for his performance of the Witch of Capri in THE MILK TRAIN DOESN'T STOP HERE ANYMORE and for his intense performance as Lot in KINGDOM OF EARTH.
The multi award-winning Abrahamse is responsible for the direction as well as the set and lighting design. Abrahamse has garnered a reputation as a leading director of the Williams reparatory with acclaimed productions of THE GLASS MENAGERIE, KINGDOM OF EARTH and THE MILK TRAIN DOESN'T STOP HERE ANYMORE. A musical score for the production has been created by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder.
From his earliest plays to his final "outrages for the stage", Williams always envisaged "a new, plastic theatre... [to] take the place of the exhausted theatre of realistic conventions if the theatre is to resume vitality as a part of our culture." Williams constantly pushed the boundaries of what theatre could be, not only through literary innovations but also by maximising the potential of theatre as a visual medium. This adaptation will be in keeping with his concept of a "plastic theatre" with a non-linear structure and a strong visual presentation transforming the stage of the Artscape Arena into an erotic dreamscape where this tragic tale unfolds.
ONE ARM represents Williams at his most provocative and hard-hitting and a must-see for all serious theatre-lovers. ONE ARM will run at the Artscape Arena from 28 August - 14 September, with tickets costing R100 - R150. Bookings can be made through Computicket.