Orpheus Descending is Rising

December 14, 2011

Announcements, Columbus, MS, Culture, Events, News

Tennessee Williams stamp

The dates for the play are February 23-25, 2012. The production is being sponsored in Columbus by the Tennessee Williams Tribute Committee. After opening in Columbus, the play will also be performed in Oxford and Jackson. Launching the premiere Mississippi performance in Tennessee’s birthplace of Columbus provides a unique backdrop for the production and will add an extra frisson to the play.

The Director and Producer said that they were searching for a local church suitable to serve as the venue of the play. When questioned about this choice, Mr. Potenzieri laughed and said, “There are many reasons for using a church. This play answers questions about religion themes. It has images of corruption and finding beauty in a corrupt world.”

Orpheus Descending was first performed on Broadway in 1957. It is the retelling of the Greek legend of Orpheus. It is set in the hot and sultry South, as are most of Tennessee Williams’ plays. The themes of love and hate, life and death and the power of Eros are masterfully revealed in the play. In Tennessee’s own words, “It is a play about unanswered questions that haunt the hearts of people and the difference between continuing to ask them…and the acceptance of prescribed answers that are not answers at all.”

The play will give the people of Columbus a chance to see one of Williams’ lesser known works. It is a powerful story of tragedy and redemption. By combining the magic of Greek legend with Southern style and grit, the play promises to offer a wonderful experience that should not be missed.

Jef Hall-Flavin, Brenda Caradine, Nick Potenzier

Jef Hall-Flavin, the inimitable Brenda Caradine, and Nick Potenzieri

Both men were enthused about their Southern production quest. Local Tennessee Williams advocate and scholar, Brenda Caradine, was on hand to greet them and assist them through the process. Through her, the TWT has close connections with the Provincetown, MA Tennessee Williams Performance Festival. In the past, the Columbus TWT has hosted “The Dog Enchanted by the Divine Moon” (a precursor to “The Rose Tattoo”), “The Travelling Companion” and “Chalky White Substance” seen at the Columbus Public Library.  The Columbus Arts Council Omnova Theatre had hosted “Summer at the Lake”, “The Case of the Crushed Petunias” and “A Strange Kind of Romance” for the 100th Birthday Celebration of Tennessee Williams in March of 2011.

For the planned statewide tour, the TWT Committee is furnishing tech support in Columbus and lending set and props from past TWT plays at MUW Rent Auditorium.  Tickets will be on sale soon at the Columbus Arts Council and Café Latin Quarter.

This polished theatrical production promises to be one of Columbus’ cultural events of the season. Mark your calendar now!

Joseph B. St. John

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