'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' opens March 1 on CLC stage
Brainerd Community Theatre will present Tennessee Williams' classic drama "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" with two shows in March in the Chalberg Theatre at the Central Lakes College Brainerd campus.
Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. March 1 and a 2 p.m. matinee March 4.
"This has been on my bucket list for years," BCT Director Patrick Spradlin stated in a news release. "It's one of those plays that stays in your memory, and stirs up all manner of feelings when you experience it."
"Cat" has been called Williams' finest play by many scholars and critics, an amazing accolade given the body of work from the playwright, which includes "The Glass Menagerie," "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Night of the Iguana" are among many. It is the one play that Williams revisited and revised during the course of his lifetime.
"The original version of the play had a very different third act than the version that was eventually produced on Broadway," Spradlin stated. "The Broadway version was one insisted upon by the director, Elia Kazan, to give it more commercial appeal. He was right, in that the play was a huge hit and brought Williams a Pulitzer."
In his memoirs, Williams named "Cat" as his favorite among his works because of its classical unity of style—all action taking place in one location and taking the same amount of time as its staging—and for what Williams called a "crude eloquence" of one of the play's main characters, Big Daddy.
The version staged by BCT is Williams' final incarnation of the play, revised for an American Shakespeare Festival production in 1974, with all the changes that satisfied his desire for a definitive text.
"Many people will be familiar with this play because of the famous film version starring Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Burl Ives," Spradlin stated. "The film version, as good as it was, is in my opinion not as good as this scripted version we're presenting."
The story of the play revolves around the Pollitt family and in particular two brothers, Brick and Gooper, and their wives, Maggie and Mae. Big Daddy is celebrating his 65th birthday, believing he's been cleared of a cancer scare. In reality, he is terminal, a fact known to all in the family except him. While Big Daddy celebrates his new lease on life, Maggie, Mae and Gooper are locked in pitched battle to secure the biggest portion of the impending inheritance. Only Brick stays out of the fray, mostly because of his revulsion of lies and liars—mendacity, as he names it—but also because he's dealing with a haunting of repressed love, which has already claimed the life of his best friend. Big Mama works to keep the family together as a unit, even after the awful truth of Big Daddy's illness is confirmed.
"This is a play of raw sexuality, raw emotions, and some of the most incredible language ever put together into a play," stated Spradlin. "This cast delivers solid performances of what is a truly remarkable and difficult drama."
The cast of local actors includes Kevin Yeager as Brick, Nicole Rothleutner as Maggie, Sharon Hartley as Big Mama, Ed Eyestone as Big Daddy, Laura Marsolek as Mae, Marc Oliphant as Gooper and Jon Howard as Dr. Baugh.
The set is designed by George Marsolek, with assistance by Tim Leagjeld. Dawn Marks designed costumes; Ben Kent is doing lighting and sound design; Allie Gorman is production stage manager; and Sheridan Wilson is assistant stage manager.
The show is intended for an adult audience due to strong language and sexual themes. Audience members should note that while smoking is depicted on stage, only water vapor is produced.
Tickets are available online at www.clcmn.edu/arts or from the CLC Theatre Box Office at 218-855-8199.
"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" is produced by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc. The production is sponsored by the CLC Videography Department. The entire CLC Performing Arts Center Season is made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board operating support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.