Monday, September 25, 2017

Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival

Provincetown Tennessee Williams 12th Annual Theater Festival – Day 1
Sweet Bird of Youth
Hamlet
Abrahamse & Meyer Productions
September 22, 2017
 
Photo courtesy of Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival 
The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Twelfth Annual Theater Festival celebrated the work of American Playwright Tennessee Williams along with classic works of William Shakespeare from September 21 through 24.  The festival brought together artists and companies from South Africa, Ghana, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.  Despite the remnants of hurricane Jose, the atmosphere was dynamic and the sense of community and creativity was enveloping.  On my first day of the festival I attended a lecture on Tennessee Williams and experienced two productions by an astounding theatre company from South Africa.

Sweet Bird of Youth
Photo courtesy of Ride Hamilton
Directed by Fred Abrahamse, the Abrahamse and Meyer Productions rendition of Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth was mesmerizing.  Bold choices were made by every cast member.  Marcel Meyer was heart breaking as Chance Wayne.  Fiona Ramsay was captivating as Princess Kosmonopolis.  All the female roles, with the exception of Princess Kosmonopolis, were cast as men.  This made a strong statement on the power structure within the family of Boss Finley and emphasized the tragic demise of the main character.  The story line of white supremacy in Williams’ writing is relevant to our present day political situation, and shines a valuable light on the objectives and motivations of supreme dominance.

Hamlet
Photo courtesy of Abrahamse and Meyer Productions
Abrahamse & Meyer Productions also presented Hamlet during the festival.  The production was riveting.  The cast of six male actors filled the stage with unqualified magnitude, creating genuine relationships and passionate moments.  Marcel Meyer’s Hamlet was profound and powerful.  Director Fred Abrahamse’s interpretation of the ghost of Hamlet’s father was truly brilliant.  When the ghost appears, he possesses Hamlet and speaks through him.  This jaw dropping scene defines Hamlet’s “madness.”  His father speaks through Hamlet again in the scene with Gertrude (played by Callum Tilbury).  When Gertrude witnesses this “possession,” she fully understands the level of her son’s descent, and chooses to transition  her loyalty.

Hamlet
Photo courtesy of Abrahamse and Meyer Productions
Traveling from Cape Town, South Africa, Abrahamse & Meyer Productions is a frequent participant in the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival.  They are an amazing company.  Not only did they successfully tackle these two monumental pieces, but they were performed back to back with a short two hour break.  Fred Abrahamse was mingling after both performances, discussion his vision for these two outstanding productions and gathering audience feedback.  The accessibility of the work, scope of artistic vision, and high quality acting makes this company well worth knowing.   


Domenick Danza

2 comments:

  1. "Sweet Bird of Youth" photograph copyright RIDE HAMILTON.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you. I will make that correction.

    ReplyDelete