Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival

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8th Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival Announces 2013 Season:

Tennessee Williams and Women: 50% Illusion
Thursday, September 26 – Sunday September 29, 2013

A woman’s charm is 50% illusion.
­­ -Blanche Dubois, A Streetcar Named Desire

Download Full 2013 Schedule

This September theater artists from around the globe will converge on the seaside village of Provincetown, where Williams worked over several summers, to celebrate America’s great playwright with a program of plays, dance, film and performance art organized around the theme of Tennessee Williams and Women: 50% Illusion.

The four-day Festival offers audiences an immersion into the creative life of one of the world’s most influential playwrights through performances of his enduring classics as well as his little-known experimental work, along with plays by women who were creating women characters in their own way.

Festival Curator David Kaplan says, “In creating women’s roles, Williams understood that women leading real lives, as Blanche points out in Streetcar, have had to create illusions for themselves and for others in order to survive.”

This year’s Festival will share with audiences how Williams’ changed his depictions of women as women’s roles changed in society. As Kaplan says, “Fragile grace got replaced with powerful grace, often combined with powerful laughter.”

Festival Executive Director Jef Hall-Flavin says “We strive to bring our audiences a profound and joyful experience of Tennessee Williams in full. Our contemporary artists surprise and delight audiences by reinterpreting Williams’ works in new ways, discovering that he was often ahead of his time in his experimental work.”

The Williams’ plays audiences will see are:

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof? — I wish I knew…Just staying on it, I guess, as long as she can.”

-Maggie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

This Pulitzer Prize winning classic, stars Keir Dullea as Big Daddy and his wife Mia Dillon as Big Mama. Dullea is thrilled to revisit this legendary 1974 Broadway revival in which he played the role of Brick opposite Elizabeth Ashley. Both Dullea and Dillon have appeared in many stage productions as well as film and TV. Dillon was nominated for a Tony Award for her portrayal of ‘Babe’ in Crimes of the Heart on Broadway. Dullea most recently appeared in Tales From Hollywood at the Guthrie Theatre. He is well known for his film roles in “David and Lisa” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.” They will both be seen in the soon to be released film “Isn’t It Delicious.”

This production comes from Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater and is directed by Elizabeth Falk, known for her work in classical and contemporary dramatic theatre , musical theatre and opera at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Off-Broadway, and Shakespeare’s Globe London where she was the first woman ever to direct..

Slapstick Tragedy: The Mutilated

Slapstick Tragedy was the name Williams gave to a double bill on Broadway in 1966. The Mutilated was the first play on the bill. Director Cosmin Chivu considers it one of the funniest, strangest, most neglected, and most moving of Tennessee Williams’ later plays.

Brought to us by BethBartley Productions, the show stars Mink Stole, the famous cult favorite of John Waters’ films, and Penny Arcade, New York’s avant-garde performance artist and superstar of Andy Warhol’s Factory. In this play, a Texas oil heiress (Mink Stole) desperately hides her ‘shameful’ secret while her drunk and derelict frenemy (Penny Arcade) plots to reveal it to the world. Cosmin Chivu has directed many Williams’ plays including Something Cloudy, Something Clear at the Festival in 2011.

Kingdom of Earth

As directed by Fred Abrahamse, the play grabbed hold of your throat and slowly, purposefully, squeezed your breath away. … the effect was riveting …” – Robert Israel, Edge Magazine.

This production from Cape Town, South Africa that captivated Festival audiences last year comes back to the Cape after winning awards and acclaim. The returning stars in this Abrahamse & MeyerProductions show are Anthea Thompson, Marcel Meyer and Nicholas Dallas.

3_Jennifer_Steyn_as_Flora_Sissy_Goforth_in_THE_MILK_TRAIN_DOESN'T_STOP_HERE_ANYMORE_photo_by_FIONA_MACPHERSONThe Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore

This year Abrahamse & Meyer Productions also brings us an unconventional and provocative production of Williams’ ‘sophisticated fairy tale.’ It stars leading South African stage and screen actress Jennifer Steyn as Sissy Goforth, an eccentric millionaire consumed with writing her memoirs confronted by an enigmatic young poet, companion to wealthy women as they near death. Marcel Meyer, Nicholas Dallas and Roelof Storm also star in this production

SONY DSCThe Chorus Girl Plays

Framed in a burlesque revue of chorus line dancers, the Festival presents the world premiere of Williams’ Curtains for the Gentleman along with two other early plays by Tom Williams (not yet Tennessee), with good time girls in central roles. This innovative show comes to the Festival from Danszloop Chicago with choreography by Paula Frasz.

Tennessee Williams and Women will also spotlight a modern take on a popular Williams’ classic in:

Neo-Benshi “A Streetcar Named Desire” Performed by Poet Roxi Power

Neo-Benshi is the performance art started by San Francisco poets in 2003 that builds on the Japanese tradition of the ‘benshi.’ When silent movies came to Japan, the benshi, a traditional

Japanese storyteller, stood by the screen, acting out the roles. Today, standing alongside the projected film, Poet Roxi Power lip-synchs a humorous alternative narrative that sabotages the scenes even as it expands our pleasure in the original film.

As a special added attraction, ‘Miss Lulu Bett,’ a silent film based on the 1920 Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Zona Gale – the first woman to receive the Pulitzer for Drama – will be shown, accompanied by live music.

This year the Festival also includes plays by women creating women characters in their own way.

In the Summer Houseby Jane Bowles

Tennessee Williams called this play “not only the most original play I have ever read, I think it also the oddest and funniest and one of the most touching.”

In the Summer House centers on a young woman trying to break free from a possessive mother, a theme that resonated deeply with Williams. Critics were not so kind. One insisted that “all the important characters were…mentally deranged,” while another saw it as a saga of “female crackpots.”

Festival Curator David Kaplan directs this new workshop production followed by a discussion of the play’s many connections to Williams. The workshop takes place around a swimming pool and features stars of former TW Fest productions: From Orpheus Descending (TW Fest 2011, 2012): Irene Glezos, Beth Bartley and Brenda Currin; also Jack Kesy from I Never Get Dressed Before Dark on Sundays (TW Fest 2012) and introducing Juliet Brett.

Pink Melon Joyby Gertrude Stein

Williams’ wrote in his diary, “I enjoy reading Gertrude Stein at night, I love the cold wine at supper.”

In her play Pink Melon Joy, Stein uproots words and overturns audience expectations. Her rhythmic use of words and language sheds new light on Williams’ language. Listening to the rhythm, sound and cadence of Stein’s words, audiences will recognize Williams’ similar delight in the musicality and drama of the spoken word.

Stein is considered one of the giants of literary modernism as well as a patron of the avant-garde modernist painters in Paris. During the 1920’s she wrote stream-of-consciousness experiments, rhythmical “portraits”, designed to evoke “the excitingness of pure being” that can be seen as literature’s answer to Cubism and breakthroughs in modern art.

This new production is directed by Katherine Brook.

Along with the performances, the Festival offers special parties and mixers with the casts.

To further illuminate Williams’ contribution to the theater, the Festival offers talks and seminars:

Tennessee Williams 101

With contributions from festival directors and performers this talk offers insights into the current plays and how they relate to Williams’ overall work

Tennessee Williams Institute

This graduate level symposium combines seminars by distinguished Williams’ scholars with the Festival performances. This year’s faculty includes David Savrin, Annette Saddick, Thomas Keith and poet Roxi Power.

Provincetown artist Bill Evaul, who collaborated with the Festival by creating original artwork for Tennessee Williams and Music last year, has again collaborated with the Festival to create a series of works that evoke the essence of the shows for Tennessee Williams and Women.

Ticket Info:

Tickets are on sale online at www.twptown.org or by phone at 866/789-TENN (8366). Tickets can be purchased individually or in special packages, such as the Carte Blanche VIP all access pass, the Flex Pass which allows you to create your own package, and the Discount Student Study Pass for full time students. Discounts are also available for groups. Many hotels and restaurants also offer discounts for festival-goers.

Attached is an image of Jennifer Steyn in The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore,photo credit Fiona MacPherson

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