Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company presents the premiere of two of Tennessee Williams' one-act plays: a poignant fable and a black comedy. More…
An evening of two lesser-known, one-act plays by Tennessee Williams, both completed the year before his death.
'A Recluse and His Guest' - A woman named Nevrika has walked all winter through the Midnight Forest to a fictional town in a mythical, cold, northern country.
'The Remarkable Rooming-House of Mme. Le Monde' - A black comedy steeped in the brutal and the fantastic. Using acutely direct, comic, and unflinching action, Williams gives us a theatrical preview of the world we live in now.
"The good news is that both plays have been beautifully directed by Romanian-born Cosmin Chivu...More importantly, a very fine ensemble of actors have been led by a imaginative director with a distinct and penetrating vision. If both plays are also packed with the metaphors and symbols that reveal the by then drug-and-alcohol-besotted Williams at his most absurdist, they can also be seen as two of his more subconsciously revelatory." Full Review
"Each play is a dark, absurdist black comedy voicing the motifs that thread through Williams’ body of work...Director Cosmin Chivu has the honor being the first to interpret 'Recluse' for the stage, and he’s cut to the heart of the fable, exposing themes of truth, conformity, hypocrisy and mortality with clarity...'Le Monde' is a brutal work that deals with sexually predatory women...Chivu directs with heightened action, highlighting the perverse burlesque, apocalyptic thrust of the play." Full Review
"These plays give any Williams fan plenty to think about. Each piece is a coherent, if bizarre, piece of work...Required viewing for Williams scholars and fans...The director, Cosmin Chivu, honors the tone of each piece and his cast does surprisingly well under the circumstances...Provides a powerful insight into a writer bent on pursuing his muse in the face of frailty, addiction, and the erosions of time. If the artistry was diminished, the bravery behind it remained constant." Full Review
"The merits of Skinner’s acting lie largely in the jarring range she displays between the two characters she inhabits, and the rest of the cast does a fine job of embracing the humanity in roles wherein it is tricky to do so. The director shows a clear adeptness with the material and paces things nicely...The Playhouse Theatre Company warrants sincere praise for turning the spotlight on a neglected phase of an American master’s career and providing a fuller picture of Williams’s art." Full Review
"Mr. Chivu makes a stronger case for 'Rooming-House' than for 'Recluse'...The performance [of 'Recluse'] feels superficial, and never finds a cohesive tone. It becomes a curiosity to sit through on the way to the second play, which is the evening’s real pleasure...It’s pointed, poignant, uproarious. From Williams, it seems, there are treasures to be plundered still." Full Review
"'Recluse' feels more like an elaborate sketch…'The Remarkable Rooming-House' is the play to come for. It’s dirty, provocative, and feels like a guilty pleasure…These plays are admittedly sparse...They feel like ideas of larger plays…Director Cosmin Chivu does right by the everyday poetry of the language by leaning away from it, placing the words firmly and confidently in the actors’ vernacular rather than allowing too much indulgence." Full Review
"They are strange one-acts, and if they were by a lesser-known writer they might not be worth a look. However, they benefit from the inventive shoestring productions given them by director Cosmin Chivu and provide an engrossing evening...These short plays aren’t earth-shattering discoveries, but they have many small pleasures, not least for fans of Williams’s work. Playhouse Creatures deserves credit for spotting those rewards." Full Review
"Both plays in this double bill are unified by their cynicism and their dark view of the world. While the plays may not be to everyone’s taste, the double casting of the two demonstrates remarkable versatility on the part of the talented cast, which is at times uneven...Cosmin Chivu’s production is not always successful, but it gives Kate Skinner a tour de force in two remarkable contrasting roles in which she reveals tremendous range." Full Review
"Both pieces deal with an achingly deep loneliness, a hopeless desperation for change, and the inability to connect in a highly corrupt, irrational, and dangerous world. These plays are notoriously difficult to stage, a job that director Cosmin Chivu tackled admirably...This is a show for theatre connoisseurs who want to know more about the soul of Tennessee Williams or for people who would find relief in seeing the bitter hardness of the world acknowledged on stage." Full Review
"Under Cosmin Chivu’s serviceable but inconsistent direction, the ensemble cast of 'Tennessee Williams 1982' tackles the pair of late and rare plays with a respectable zeal. The performances are unfortunately not as even as one would expect or desire...It is always good to see Tennessee Williams on the NY Stage and the company is to be commended for bringing this pair of rare plays by the iconic playwright." Full Review
"The double-bill called 'Tennessee Williams 1982,' under the direction of Cosmin Chivu, has been given a modest, albeit enthusiastic, production...[The performers] work hard here but are unable to evoke the poetry that anchors even Williams' most outlandish flights of fancy...I'm glad I had the opportunity to see these works, neither of which is likely to be staged often. But unless you're a Williams fanatic like me, you may not feel your time was as well spent." Full Review
"Here's a question: if a great playwright also wrote lousy plays, should those plays be produced or should they be allowed to rest in peace?...Tennessee Williams addicts will appreciate the opportunity to see these plays by their beloved idol, and Mr. Chivu is to be commended for making them available in a reasonably effective form. But now that they’ve been exposed, it may be better in the future to put them back in the box and let them R.I.P." Full Review
"For big fans of the playwright who like the idea of seeing him play around with different styles, 'Tennessee Williams 1982' is worth a visit, especially since the people at Playhouse Creatures have clearly put so much love and energy into the endeavor. But ultimately it is an uneven dramatic experience, with an unsatisfying first act followed by an entertaining but inconsequential second act." Full Review
"Director Cosmin Chivu is no stranger to lifting lesser-known Williams plays out of obscurity and not only dusting them off, but polishing them to a high gleam. Here, however, the effort falls short, and even the accomplished cast of experienced Equity actors seems befuddled by the text...Really, both works are raw and visceral and unpolished, so much so that the plays are of likely interest mainly to scholars, die-hard Williams aficionados, and curiosity-seekers." Full Review
See it if you are dying to see two mediocre Williams plays that may never see the light of day again. This overwrought production does them no favors.
Don't see it if if you're after classic Tennessee Williams done well. Or quite frankly if you're interested in a coherent night at the theatre.
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