New American Theatre's Five Beauties a Winning Production


The New American Theatre presents Five Beauties, 5 one-acts by Tennessee Williams.
Five Beauties is extended to November 20, playing Sunday eves at 7 pm beginning October 23rd. This extension is in rep with their new production of William Hoffman's award-winning 80s play As-Is, set to open November 5.

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Five Beauties, now in its extension at the New American Theatre housed at the McCadden Place Theatre in Hollywood, is a collection of five rarely produced one-acts by Tennessee Williams. They all seem to have addiction as a central theme, with the one exception Moony's Kid Don't Cry (directed by Elina de Santos), that depicts the hardship of newly marrieds. It is a harsh and realistic look at how one man's (Alex Monti Fox) ideals do not help to keep himself, wife (Jade Sealey) and infant son together during rough economic times.

Green Eyes (directed by Mark Bringelson) has a soldier on leave (Brendan Brandt), his horny wife (Courtney Munch) and an odd conflict that ensues when the young husband awakens in a hotel room to find his wife lying next to him, bruised and beaten from a sexual encounter the night before... that he claims did not involve himself. This is a very curious and intriguing play which questions the deceptions of the two at play and illustrates the extremes taken to satisfy sexual appetites.

The Lady of Larkspur Lotion (directed by Bjorn Johnson) may have been the basis for Vieux Carre, a later Williams full length play about a hotel full of artististic lodgers, alcoholics and dreamers, bordering on insanity, as is typical of many Williams' plays. Actors here are Cameron Myer, Mona Lee Wylde and John Copeland.

My single objection to The Traveling Companion (directed by Ron Klier) (photo, top) is its incompleteness. I wanted more to happen between the writer (Tom Groenwald) and the young stud (ByRon Field), but it's definitely a case of where less may be more. The writer could be Tennessee Williams himself in his later years, relying on the kindness of strangers and picking up every Tom, Dick and Harry he could, to service his never-ending needs.

The finale Auto-Da-Fe (directed by Jack Stehlin) concerns a strict mother/son relationship (Bibi Tinsley and Anthony Cran) a la Amanda/Tom in Glass Menagerie only this time the son Eloi is a pervert and his mother is trying to get him to trust his faith in order to change his ways. The boy has plans of his own to bring about purification/cleansing on a much grander scale.

The acting and direction of all these pieces is outstanding, and the staging efficiently executed. It's always grande to see Tennessee Williams mounted, especially in this 100th anniversary year.

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From This Author Don Grigware

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