February 23, 2011

An Amazing New Production Of A Tennessee Williams Flop

When it opened on Broadway in 1977, Tennessee Williams memory play VIEUX CARRE lasted only 5 performances.  But now, nearly 35 years later, the play has returned triumphantly to a New York stage.  It's not exactly Broadway and it's not exactly the play TW wrote.  But it is an incredible production that I believe he would've thoroughly enjoyed.

Last Friday, I went to see this revelatory new version at the Baryschnikov Arts Center on 37th Street, only a few blocks physically from the Great White Way but much further artistically.  The experimental Wooster Group is responsible for this incredibly frank and racy production, which incorporates some haunting visuals, live video, internet porn and projections of the plays text, as well as an extraordinary sound/light design as well.  It was 2 hours without an intermission but it was absolutely riveting; a total reimagining of this early Williams play about a seedy New Orleans boardinghouse where a young writer gets mixed up with some questionable characters.

Today's TIMES gives the show a rave review, which is well deserves.  It has already been extended to mid-March and hopefully will get extended further.  Who knows?  Maybe it will end up on Broadway afterall...and wouldn't that be a kick for old TW.

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