Rarely-seen Tennessee Williams masterpiece Kingdom of Earth on at the Baxter Flipside for a limited season. After its return season in the USA, where it played to sold-out houses and standing ovations, Tennessee Williams’ rarely-seen masterpiece Kingdom of Earth, directed by Fred Abrahamse and featuring a stellar cast, comes to the Baxter Flipside for three weeks only, from 3 to 22 February 2014, at 8pm nightly, with matinees at 2pm on 15 and 22 Feb.
Anthea Thompson shines in her portrayal of 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 Cape Times called it “utterly brilliant ... absolutely outstanding” and the Edge Boston said “the play grabbed hold of your throat and slowly, purposefully, squeezed your breath away ... the effect was riveting.” The Cape Argus gave it four stars and the Monday Missile claimed, “While I’m not one for giving ratings in reviews, the number ten comes to mind.”
The themes in the play, which is also known as The Seven Descents of Myrtle, resonate deeply within a South African context. The production premiered at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival in the USA in 2012 to such great 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 the finest production to date of this savage, sexy and darkly comic play. Williams’ literary agent, Mitch Douglas, described it as “powerful, heartfelt and totally enthralling … a remarkable achievement.”
David Kaplan, curator of the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival, said, “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.”
Kingdom of Earth brings together the award-winning team of Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer, who were responsible for local hit shows such as The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Shakespeare’s R&J.
"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 was also a socially conscious writer - his plays always celebrate ‘the other’- giving a voice to those who are marginalised because of their race, sexuality or gender. The themes of racial discrimination, power struggles and gender dynamics are tackled head-on, making this one of his most thrilling and profound plays and it really gives audiences the opportunity to experience the work of a master-playwright at his best."
Tennessee 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(A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof).Both plays were adapted to film with great success. Some of his other works like The Glass Menagerie, Night of the Iguana, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore and Sweet Bird of Youth have also enjoyed success worldwide.
There is an age restriction of 13. Kingdom of Earth previews on 3 February, opens on 4 February and runs until 22 February at 8pm with matinees on 15 and 22 February at 2pm. Ticket prices are R100 (previews), R110 (matinees), R130 (Mondays to Thursdays) and R140 on Fridays and Saturdays.
Booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.co.za or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet. For discounted block, corporate or schools bookings contact Sharon on 021 680 3962 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Carmen on 021 680 3993 or email email@example.com.
Press release provided by Alethea Patterson.