6th Annual Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival Held 9/22-25
In the fall, theater lovers from around the globe converge on Provincetown to celebrate 100 years of America's great playwright. Innovative productions of plays, short stories, comedy, dance and music give testimony that Williams' timeless words are alive today and moving into the future through the creative spirit of contemporary artists.
The international festival provides a multi-layered, inspirational experience through a prism of performances, parties and festivities in the town where Tennessee Williams worked on some of his masterpieces.
In Provincetown, each play - whether moving, shocking, edifying or amusing - can be seen through a new lens. In addition to the traditional theater, the Historic Town Hall, a hotel, a church, a nightclub and a tent on the beach all become players that add to the stimulating creative atmosphere.
This year's Centennial theme of DOUBLE EXPOSURE: PAST AND PRESENT is inspired by memory and imagination. Autobiographical and avant-garde works are placed in unusual settings, and contemporary visions of Williams' classics are at the forefront of this season's programming. Like a kaleidoscope, this rich collection of performances refract and reflect upon each other to create a new way of seeing.
NOTABLE PARTICIPANTS include the John Waters film sensation Mink Stole, the Ridiculous Theatrical Company's Everett Quinton, Obie Award-winning director Lee Breuer (Mabou Mines), Tony-nominated actor (As Is, Burn This) Lou Liberatore. Productions come from Lisbon, London, Albuquerque, Provincetown and New York.
"Life is all - it's just one time. It finally seems to all occur at one time."
-Something Cloudy, Something Clear
Two of Williams' most autobiographical plays are at the thematic heart of the Festival:
· THE PARADE and SOMETHING CLOUDY, SOMETHING CLEAR
Seeing these two connected plays in the town where the events actually happened provides a rare opportunity for a truly meaningful double-exposure.
The Parade, Or Approaching the End of a Summer was written in 1940 when Williams was an unknown writer of 29 summering in Provincetown. Here he experienced his first and all-consuming love for a young dancer, whom he inevitably lost. He wrote this one-act play then. It is directed by Grant Kretchik. In the play Something Cloudy, Something Clear, written shortly before he died, Williams returned to explore the meaning of that deeply felt experience. Set in 1940 and 1980, then and now exist at one time in a shimmering mirage of memory, loss, and love. It is directed by Cosmin Chivu and stars Tony-nominated actor Lou Liberatore.
"This year we want to bring Williams into the 21st Century," said Festival Curator David Kaplan, the editor of the Williams centennial anthology, Tenn at One Hundred. "So we are thrilled to present a Master Class with the visionary director Lee Breuer, who will demonstrate his revelatory ideas about Tennessee Williams' work from a contemporary point of view."
· GLASS GUIGNOL - A Master Class with Lee Breuer
This year, Breuer became the director of the first play written by an American at the Comédie Française - a great honor given to Tennessee Williams and A Streetcar Named Desire. Breuer's unconventional production, a fantasia of Japanese culture and jazz, was given high praise, sold out performances, and standing ovations.
Breuer, co-founder of the New York experimental collective theater Mabou Mines has directed 11 Obie award-winning productions. Joined by Obie-winning Mabou Mines ensemble actors, Breuer will demonstrate how his kaleidoscopic vision would interpret a Williams' play being shown at this year's festival - The Two Character Play - while incorporating elements of The Glass Menagerie.
Festival Director Jef Hall-Flavin says, "We're making history in Provincetown. This year we're thrilled to present our ninth world premiere production of a never-before-seen Williams play. And our two trans-Atlantic imports are also premieres," referring to the world premiere of a Portuguese dance/theater piece and the North American debut of a Two-Character Play from London. "No one is doing quite what we do in Provincetown, and we're proud to be getting world-wide recognition."
· THE TWO-CHARACTER PLAY - Critically Acclaimed Production From London
From Jermyn Street Theatre, directed by Gene David Kirk; staring Paul McEwan & Catherine Cusack
"An unexpectedly marvelous, multi-faceted evening." (London Daily Telegraph) In this beautifully crafted U.K. production, brother and sister find themselves in a decrepit theater, compelled to act out a play about a brother and sister. An autobiographical refraction, illusion within illusion, where the artifice of past haunts the reality of present.
· ALMA - A North American Premiere from Lisbon
This dance-theater piece is conceived by Pedro Vieira and Inês Tarouca, from Carbono Theater Company in Lisbon. A talented troupe of Portuguese actors has devised an exciting movement-based performance inspired by Tennessee Williams' favorite character: Alma Winemiller from Summer and Smoke. With text and songs in Portuguese and English, it focuses on her unfulfilled longing for the love of her life.
· ONCE IN A LIFETIME - A Multiple Exposure
Four Plays performed in a hotel, featuring the World Premiere of Once In A Lifetime.
In this up-close and personal environmental theater experience, audiences will take a ‘once in a lifetime' journey through hotel rooms to witness one-act dramas that Williams' set in hotel rooms. The plays that extend from the beginning to the end of Williams' career include:
o Once In A Lifetime, an unpublished, never-before-seen Williams' play in which two conservative Midwestern families on a summer road trip to New Mexico stop at a hotel. Staged by Albuquerque's Fusion Theatre, directed by Dennis Gromelski.
o Green Eyes, an erotic thriller directed by Jef Hall-Flavin, with Jaimi Paige, who originated the role in the 2008 world premiere Provincetown production about a young couple on their honeymoon in the French Quarter.
o Sunburst, an elegant one-act directed by Patrick Falco, with Beverly Bentley and Brian Patacca reprising their roles from the original 2007 production about a semi-retired Broadway actress, a victim of a jewel heist in a midtown hotel.
o The Traveling Companion, directed by Festival curator David Kaplan. Jeremy Lawrence and Zachary Clause have performed this play throughout America and in Dublin, Ireland. A celebrated older author checks into Manhattan's swanky Essex House with a young man who didn't quite understand what was expected of him on this trip.
John Waters and Charles Ludlam broke new ground in film and theater, creating dozens of transgressive, anti-mainstream cult classics. Two acolytes of these boundary-breaking artists will appear at this year's Festival: Mink Stole (13 John Waters films, including Hairspray, Serial Mom), and Everett Quinton (The Mystery of Irma Vep and many others at the Ridiculous Theatrical Company).
"It's easy to forget that Tennessee Williams broke boundaries," says Hall-Flavin, "But he wrote of human experience the way he saw it, so of course he was transgressive - both in style and subject."
· AND NOW THE CATS WITH JEWELLED CLAWS
An Absurd Comedy with Music - Starring Mink Stole and Everett Quinton
A cocktail-laden lunch with Madge and Bea turns inexplicably into a song-and-dance number. Complete with hustlers, motorcycles, and genteel ladies exploring the absurd art of seduction, this is Tennessee Williams at his experimental best. Produced in association with LaMaMa ETC.
· DIRTY SHORTS - Two Bawdy Short Stories Read by Celebrity Guests (to be announced)
Two short stories of forbidden desires written by Tennessee Williams late in life celebrate sexual fulfillment as political expression: The scandalous "Miss Coynte of Greene" tells the tale of a Mississippi Delta spinster crossing the color line. She's paired with the story of "The Killer Chicken and the Closet Queen" in which a staid Wall Street lawyer meets his match in a teen-aged boy fresh from the Ozarks.
· SOUTH PATHETIC
A One-Man Comedy Written & Performed by Jim David
Well-known actor/comedian Jim David plays himself as a guest director and a cast of characters in the worst community theater in the South's production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Most recently a hit at the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival, it was called "...hilarious, insightful and finally, quite moving" by the Miami Herald.
Rounding out the program is a full production of a Tennessee Williams masterpiece. First begun as Battle of Angels in 1939 (which is the unnamed play he is writing in Something Cloudy, Something Clear), Williams took 17 years to pen Orpheus Descending.
· ORPHEUS DESCENDING - Back By Popular Demand
Last year's sold-out success returns to Provincetown. Staged as a morality play in a local church, this Williams classic traces a boy-singer's descent into hell in the form of a small-town variety store. Irene Glezos, Thomas Beaudoin and Beth Bartley return with their heart-wrenching performances. Directed by Nick Potenzieri (The Infinite Theatre, New York).
The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival takes place Thursday, September 22 through Sunday, September 25, 2011 at various venues in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Festival passes, including access to all shows, are available now online at www.twptown.org or by calling 1-866-789-TENN (8366). A Carte Blanche Pass includes tickets to all performances as well as access to exclusive donor parties, events, and more. Special group packages, student prices, and Flex Passes are also available. For full details on Festival performances and events, visit www.twptown.org.