SEPTEMBER 26 - 29, 2019

13th Annual Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival - Wishful Thinking 

Tennessee Williams knew the drama of waiting, both in his life and in his writing, making his plays richer, sadder, and more joyous. His insights into waiting inspired the theme of Wishful Thinking for the 13th Annual Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival.

The 2018 line-up of shows featured five Tennessee Williams plays alongside works by Federico García Lorca, Anton Chekhov, and Samuel Beckett, produced and performed by artists from New York City, Philadelphia, Florida, Michigan, Texas, and beyond. 

The 2018 line-up featured the world premiere of Talisman Roses, a Williams one-act that Tom, not yet Tennessee, was moved to write after a visit to his older sister Rose in a state psychiatric ward. Never before seen on stage, this tender and vivid piece about the fragility of the mind was staged by distinguished actor and director Marsha Mason and produced by The Collective NY.

Roses featured prominently in Festival shows in 2018, including in The Rose Tattoo – one of Williams’ most passionate and romantic comedies, starring Festival favorite Irene Glezos and directed by Dana Greenfield – and in Doña Rosita the Spinster, Lorca’s lyrical final play about an artless young woman who waits in Spain for her beloved to return from Argentina, in a production directed by Festival Curator David Kaplan in collaboration with Texas Tech University.

The 2018 program also included:

  • Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in a fresh translation by John Freedman of the Moscow Times, produced as an immersive and intimate site-specific show by Arb Arts from Ann Arbor, Michigan and directed by Katherine Mendeloff

  • An imaginative rendering of the Beckett novella Company by Lane Savadove and Philadelphia’s EgoPo, who produced the 2016 Festival hit The Hairy Ape, directed by Brenna Geffers

  • An adaptation by Geffers of a wild new comic book by Mark Russell, The Snagglepuss Chronicles, which reimagined the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon character as a closeted Southern playwright living in New York City

  • A new performance piece by Geffers called Menagerie of Angels, in which Philadelphia’s Die-Cast ensemble (last year’s Pericles) led audiences through a series of haunted encounters with figures from Tennessee Williams’ dreams

  • A production from Jeff Glickman and the Pensacola Little Theatre of the Williams drama Will Mr. Merriwether Return From Memphis? that blended fantasy and reality into a colorful ghost story

  • A dark comedy from New York City called Some Problems for the Moose Lodge that skewered family, religion, aging, and madness in a way only Williams can. Directed by Rory Pelsue and produced by The Collective NY, Some Problems for the Moose Lodge was paired with the Williams play Steps Must Be Gentle, a fantasia about the death and afterlife of the poet Hart Crane

The Festival also featured parties, post-show mixers, educational classes, and exclusive donor events throughout the four-day celebration.

The drama of anticipation inspired the 2018 programming, said Kaplan. “We are all, in America and around the world, waiting for something to happen,” he said. “We don’t know what it is, but we can feel something is coming. Does waiting unsettle us? Does it paralyze our will to act? Does it give us hope, or cause for despair?”

Click here for more show details.

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