Review “The Tennessee Williams Project” (The-Hypocrites): 3 States of Tennessee

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 Permalink

The Hypocrites present THE TENNESSEE WILLIAMS PROJECT.

Director Matt Hawkins has arranged an evening with Tennessee Williams’ lesser know works.  Three of Williams’ one act plays are performed:  “And Tell Sad Stories of the Deaths of Queens,” “The Remarkable Rooming-House of Mme. Le Monde,” and “The Big Game.”  The selections are familiar yet unfamiliar.  They reflect the common themes of TW’s more famous works.  THE TW PROJECT is an evening of unrequited love, homosexuality, homophobia, alcoholism, and physical and mental fragility.

The plays are performed fairly straight-forward for The Hypocrites.  Traditionally, the Hypocrites re-imagine traditional pieces in unconventional ways.  This time, under Hawkins‘ direction, two of the three individual plays are produced within a customary theatrical setting.  The middle piece, “Mme. Le Monde,” has the Hypocrites’ signature whimsy.  The additional innovation is the show is a promenade.  Each play is performed in a different room.

Set Designer Dan Stratton creates a New Orleans boudoir out of the already colorful lounge at the Chopin Theatre. From the bawdy rouge vibe, the audience moves into the dark, mysterious Mme. Le Monde with its fetish meets circus motif.  The third stage is a stark hospital room straight out of “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.”  The contrast between stages is marveling and surprising.  At the end of each play, the stage goes dark and a door slides open beckoning the audience into the new world.  Costume Designer Alison Siple adds to the aesthetic.  Siple selects the perfect matching outfit for each occasion for the ensemble.  Among my favorites are Siple’s outrageous creations for Candy’s lounge attire, Mint’s straitjacket trousers and Mme. Le Monde’s dominatrix frock.

The terrific ensemble, Patrick Gannon, Osiris Khepera, Eric Leonard, Christopher Meister, Mary Redmon, Joseph Wiens, morph into multiple roles for this Tennessee Williams‘ showcase.  A masterful Hawkins facilitates impressive distinctions from his actors from play to play.  A noteworthy Patrick Gannon goes from mentally crippled to physically crippled.  Gannon effectively morphs from an aging drag queen to a paraplegic with incredible upper arm strength.  Mary Redmon goes hilariously from lewd landlady to prim nurse.  Although Joseph Weins‘ performances from play to play are great, his ongoing transformations within “Sad Stories” is unforgettable.  His emotional turmoil is an unexpected rollercoaster ride.  At one point, he even serenades poignantly. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful.

THE TENNESSEE WILLIAMS PROJECT is three plays for the price of one.  It’s a unique opportunity to experience TW from three rarely produced angles.  You should tour these 3 states of Tennessee!

Running Time:  Two hours with no intermission

At Chopin Theatre, 1542 W. Division

Written by Tennessee Williams

Directed by Matt Hawkins

Fridays, Saturdays, Mondays at 7:30pm

Sundays at 3pm

Thru March 2nd

Buy Tickets at www.the-hypocrites.com

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