Thursday, April 7, 2011

Washington College Drama Presents Two Tennessee Williams One-Acts

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College will offer two rarely staged one-act plays by Tennessee Williams on Thursday through Saturday evenings, April 14-16 at 8 o’clock in Tawes Theatre.
Drama professor Timothy Maloney chose the two plays—“This Property is Condemned,” and “The Gnadiges Fraulein”—to mark the 100th anniversary of Williams’s birth (March 26, 1911). They offer “an excursion into a part of the dramatic world of Tennessee Williams that is often overlooked,” says Maloney.
Williams is remembered for his 1940s masterpieces “The Glass Menagerie” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.” But for most of his career, the playwright was drawn less to realism and more into what he called “personal lyricism,” a style that sought to reveal the interior life of characters, often through visual symbols. “It’s the outcry of prisoner to prisoner from the cell in solitary where each is confined for the duration of his life,” he said.
“This Property is Condemned,” first produced in 1942, contains just two characters, a 16-year-old boy named Tom (played by Washington College sophomore Nick Pace) and a wildly precocious 13-year-old girl named Willie (senior Emmy Landskroener).
“The Gnadiges Fraulein” is a slapstick tragic-comedy set in a run-down boarding house. The cast includes Washington College students Stephanie Brown, Katie Muldowney, Nina Sharp, Nick Pace, Mike Zurawski, and Antoine Jordan. The play combines elements of most of the genres in 20th Century American theatre: vaudeville, burlesque, musical circus, and the drama. It first opened in New York in 1966 with a star-studded cast and closed after seven performances. Reviewers dismissed it as further evidence of Williams’s steady decline. But Maloney sees it and “This Property is Condemned” as examples of “the extraordinary effort of a probing master artist to challenge, shape, and deliver his art to a needful public.”
Both plays in “An Evening of Tennessee Williams One-Acts” are directed by Maloney, with sets by Associate Professor Jason Rubin. Reservations are encouraged; call the box office at 410-780-7835 or Tawes Theater is located in the Gibson Center for the Arts on the Washington College campus, 300 Washington Avenue.