Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival

Provincetown Tennessee Williams 12th Annual Theater Festival – Day 2
The Gnadiges Fraulein
Texas Tech University
Ten Blocks on the Camino Real
National Theatre of Ghana
September 23, 2017

Photo courtesy of Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival
I was able to attend the Provincetown Tennessee Williams 12th Annual Theater Festival for only two of the four days.  During that time I was able to see five shows and a lecture on Tennessee Williams.  The experience was revitalizing and inspiring.  On my second day I encountered a broader variety of theatre companies from different points on the map.

The Gnadiges Fraulein
Photo courtesy of Texas Tech University
The Texas Tech University production of The Gnadiges Fraulein was absurd, fast paced, bawdy, and highly disturbing.  Director Jef Hall-Flavin found the pace, style, and timing to keep the audience amused, allowing Tennessee Williams’ darker themes of unrequited love and self-deprivation to creep in and change the tone for a potent ending.  Rachel Hirshorn and Anthea Thompson had great chemistry as Molly and Polly.  Francine Segal was haunting as Fraulein.  The production design was comical and over the top, while the color scheme of black, white, and shades of gray added a layer of seriousness that allowed for a smooth transitioned into the darker ending.

Ten Blocks on the Camino Real
Photo courtesy of The National Theatre of Ghana
Hurricane Jose lightened up so the National Theatre of Ghana’s production of Ten Blocks on the Camino Real was able to be played outdoors as scheduled.  Director David Kaplan’s rendition of this challenging Tennessee Williams play was grounded in the cultural colors and rhythms of Ghana, transforming the emotional challenges of the main character, Kilroy (played by Isaac Flagbor) into a mystical and spiritual journey.  The cast of eleven worked as a solid ensemble filling the open, outdoor space with energy, transporting the audience into the world of the play.

Photo courtesy of Die-Cast
Shakespeare’s Pericles was presented by Die-Cast, a new company out of Philadelphia.  The show was staged on a life size model of a clipper ship on the second floor of the Provincetown Library.  Director Brena Geffers used striking ensemble movement and resilient breath work to weave the tale of this lesser known Shakespeare work.  The cast played multiple roles lead by Keith Conallen as Pericles, Chris Anthony as Gower, and Hannah Van Sciver as Marina.

This was my first time attending the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, and I am already looking forward to next year.  The variety of theatre professionals and artists presenting high quality work clearly defines the magnitude of vision and expertise of this organization.  If you have not attended in the past, I recommend checking out their website (http://twptown.org/) for upcoming news. 

Domenick Danza

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