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Ptown Williams fest takes ‘Hotel Plays’ to NOLA

Desiree Ledet, right, and Kathryn Talbot in "The Lady of Larkspur Lotion" (Ride Hamilton photo)

The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival will return to New Orleans later this month with a new edition of its signature “The Hotel Plays.” Williams wrote several one-act plays set inside a room in a hotel or boarding house and this production joins four of them in a show for which the audience moves from room to room.

The production will be part of the 29th annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, which takes place March 25-29. This show will be set in the rooms of the historic Hermann-Grima House Museum and focuses on plays Williams wrote and set in the French Quarter.

“Watching Tennessee Williams’ French Quarter plays in the Hermann-Grima House is like hearing Beethoven performed on original instruments,” David Kaplan, Provincetown festival curator and director of this production, said in a press release. “It’s as if every play has another character: the house.”

Live music will accompany the parts of “The Hotel Plays,” and 12 of the 14 actors are New Orleans-based. The plays involved were written in New Orleans between 1939 and 1941: “The Lady of Larkspur Lotion”; “Lord Byron’s Love Letter”; “The Last of My Solid Gold Watches”; and “Mr. Paradise.”

“We’re so excited to bring such an innovative production to the Hermann-Grima House. Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival puts on a show that fills the senses and delivers a true experience to audience members,” says Mamie Sterkx Gasperecz, executive director of the Hermann-Grima +Gallier Historic Houses. “The plays fit well with our vision to offer educational, entertainment and interactive programming, while maintaining our commitment to historic preservation.”

A related installation, “Tennessee Williams Neighborhood – A French Quarter Perspective” at the Gallier House, 1132 Royal St., will provide background on Williams’ life in New Orleans.

The idea for presenting the one-act plays together originally came, according to the release, in the fall of 1941, after Williams’ second summer in Provincetown. He wrote to his agent with the idea of presenting three one-act plays (including the first two listed above) under the title “Vieux Carre.” That never happened, but a full-length play using that title was presented on Broadway and in London in 1977.

For tickets to the New Orleans shows: 504-525-5661 or www.tennesseewilliams.net. For information on the Provincetown festival: www.twptown.org.

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