I Have Mixed Feelings About Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

So Did Tennessee Williams

Comments

1
At first, I thought that Laura Griffith was overacting and overdoing the southern accent, but no, she evened out and gave a notable performance for such a demanding role. I saw the play only once before as a kid and vaguely remember seeing the movie - so I had totally forgotten the homosexual "affair" between the character Brick and and his remembrance of his football buddy Skipper.

I prefer seeing a play with a backstage, as opposed to the "arena" style Allen Theater at the ACT. There was only one set: the bedroom. No set changes during intermission. Perhaps that's the dictates of the theater, but it seems they could have at least moved to another scene by after the second intermission.

I picked out this play on a whim because I was very overdue for a performing arts fix. I'm glad I did. There were several moments in the play when the acting and performance was so compelling that I forgot they were actors - and that's the essence of a good production. Especially in regard to Brandon O'Neill who gave a great performance as Brick.

Not a must-see, but a very worthwhile-see.
2
Last night's preview performance of ACT's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was my first time seeing this work in any form so I didn't know the story at all. However I have worked on other Tennessee Williams play productions in college, specifically Streetcar Named Desire and Small Craft Warnings. A lingering similarity among these three works is Williams' repetitive use of grandiose yelling monologues that border on the ridiculous. (Perhaps that's the self-loathing you refer to?) While the messages/themes of this play are weighty and grim, I kept coming back to the Act 2 conversation between Big Daddy & Brick where Brick keeps repeating that while the two men talk a lot, not very much is said. I felt that observation rang true both inside and outside the play. This play clocks in at an exhausting 3 hours with 2 intermissions, so definitely there was fat to trim on Williams' part. But I don't think Beattie and co. did a bad job all things considered. Playing in the round is challenging and sometimes takes you out of the story when you can see other audience members fidgeting in their seats. It's staged quite well actually and makes use of the entire auditorium (aisles, cat walk, light grid, etc)--"atmospheric" to be sure. But as far at the play itself, I think I agree that it's hard to "like" it. I found all the characters horrible in their own ways, just like the HBO show GIRLS. So while this production is noteworthy, I would not say it's recommendable.
3
"Didn't you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?" I love the overblown Elizabeth Taylor version, whose scenery could never be recycled for another production because the actors had consumed it entirely.
4
I have always enjoyed reading TW's plays, or any play for that matter. I have not cared for some after I have read them, but I go in with an open mind. I attended last night and for the most part, enjoyed it. But it was long. The time felt used well however. The parts I did not care for were the "extra" little vignettes the director added. Such as the couple standing in the closet, and the child crawling out from under the bed. To me it was like saying "this is going to be a long monologue folks, here is something strange, and meaningful only to us to divert your attention to"
5
i don't agree with the suggestion that CAT is a play that concesals homosexuality. i suggest that SEXUAL HEAT is of the same kind no matter whether between a heterosexual or homosexual couple, something i realized again while translating Peter Handke's extrordinarily erotic play THE BEAUTIFUL DAYS OF ARANJUEZ for Theater Y in Chicagohttp://handke-drama.blogspot.com/2015/03/aranjuez-comments-for-world-english.html