The rarely staged Tennessee Williams play ‘Kingdom of Earth’, directed by Fred Abrahamse and featuring a stellar cast, is still showing at the Baxter fone week until February 22 at 8pm nightly. (There are also 2pm matinees on the Saturdays of February 15 and 22.)
The production returned recently from a season in the USA, where it played to sold-out houses and standing ovations. Award winning actress Anthea Thompson plays Myrtle, who is just recently married to Lot (Nicholas Dallas).Lot is terminally ill and he has decided to return to the Mississippi Delta with his new bride, hoping to reclaim his ancestral home from his brooding, feral half-brother, Chicken (Marcel Meyer). As rain falls and the river threatens to flood the land, these three lost souls engage in a brutal power play for the possession of all they’ve ever known.
Director Abrahamse won the 2012 Fleur du Cap award for best set design. Meyer was nominated for best costume design and Charl-Johan Lingenfelder for best soundscape/score, while Thompson received a best actress nomination.
The production premiered at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival in the USA in 2012 to such acclaim that it was invited back last year and played in rep with ‘The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore’ as part of the 2013 festival. It was lauded by Williams’ aficionados and scholars as among the finest productions to date of this savage, sexy and darkly comic play.
“I do not think an American company would have been able to stage these themes so effectively. The South African artists succeeded, in part, because our two countries have a parallel history of racial separation, racial identity, and ongoing attempts at reconciliation. Our international audience in Provincetown was rapt, moved and loudly appreciative,” said David Kaplan, curator of the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival.
“Tennessee Williams is probably the greatest playwright in the English language after William Shakespeare. His plays deal with great universal themes in a uniquely theatrical fashion and this is why actors, directors and audiences continue to return to his visceral works time and time again,” explains Abrahamse.
Williams is widely regarded as one of the most influential playwrights of the twentieth century and his plays remain among the most produced in the world. His work has been staged across the globe and has garnered numerous awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
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