SEPTEMBER 21 - 24, 2017

Performances

September 2011


Glass Guignol - A Master Class with Lee Breuer

Glass Guignol: A Master Class with Lee Breuer

directed by Lee Breuer

Mabou Mines

New York, New York

Glass Guignol: A Master Class with Lee Breuer

A conversation about a remarkable Streetcar, then a live demonstration by way of The Glass Menagerie with Mabou Mines actors. At the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, we don’t just honor Tennessee Williams history, we make it. And you can be a witness to it. One night only, on the stage of Ptown’s historic Town Hall.

Mark Povinelli and Maude Mitchell in Mabou Mines DOLL HOUSE 

You'll want to be in the audience when acclaimed stage director Lee Breuer comes to Provincetown with award-winning actors:

Maude Mitchell, who played the lead in Breuer’s world famous production of Doll House in which the men’s roles are performed by actors under 4 feet tall; Greg Mehrten, who played King Lear’s fool in drag for Lee; video designer and choreographer Eamonn Farrell; and international stilt performer Jessica Weinstein – along with Basil Twist, the greatest living puppeteer in America.

 

 

At Town Hall they’ll be putting The Glass Menagerie in the spotlight, staging scenes through a series of "what ifs?" – What if Tennessee Williams’ sister, Rose, could edit the play? What if Rose disagreed with her famous brother’s version of the story? What if they were both drinking? What would we see onstage – if we didn’t change a single line?

 

We’ve billed this as a master class, because Lee Breuer’s "Glass Guignol" is an education in what’s possible, accompanied throughout by live music from composer Jay Ansill.

Lee Breuer STREETCAR in Paris - photo by Mirco MaglioccaThe event begins with an onstage discussion about Lee’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire in Paris this season. This was the first time in their 330-year history that the Comedie Francaise presented a play written by an American. For this sold-out run, shelves had to be added to the ancient cloak rooms so there would be a place for the audience to put their motorcycle helmets. The theater is now closed for renovations: no one will see the production again until 2013.

But you can see and hear all about the Paris Streetcar in Provincetown. Along with Basil Twist – who designed the astonishing scenery -- Lee Breuer will show – and talk about -- some unforgettable Streetcar images: Blanche lost in a sinister Mardi Gras parade on her way to visit her sister, Stella flying down an invisible staircase to forgive Stanley, Blanche’s hallucinatory rape in which Stanley becomes one of the Heath Ledger-like Jokers in a deck of shuffling cards.

Lee Breuer STREETCAR in Paris - photo by Mirco MaglioccaThe most controversial part: Japanese imagery throughout, screens and paper lanterns, tigers and gold, all of Williams imagery rescued from the overly familiar film, made strange and beautiful again for a theater audience.

 William Jay Smith, Williams’ lifelong friend, who saw the original production in 1947, said of the Paris Streetcar:  

 

"Lee Breuer, himself a poet, has given us a truly visual poem. In its Japanese metaphorical transformation, it evokes magnificently the mad, ante-bellum dream of Blanche DuBois."  

 

What is Guignol?

At the Grand Guignol (pronounced gwee-NYO-L) Theater in Paris patrons would see five or six plays, all in a style which attempted to be brutally true to the theatre's naturalistic ideals.... These plays often explored the altered states, like insanity, hypnosis, panic, under which uncontrolled horror could happen. Some of the horror came from the nature of the crimes shown, which often had very little reason behind them and in which the evildoers were rarely punished or defeated. To heighten the effect, the horror plays were often alternated with comedies.

According to critic Annette Saddik: a page typed by Williams and dated August 1982 (six months before his death), located in the archives of the Harvard Theatre Collection, announces his plan for an evening of "Williams’ Guignol."

About Lee Breuer

Lee Breuer - an American innovator on the world stage will appear at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater FestivalConsidered by many to be one of the most innovative directors on the world stage, Lee Breuer creates theatrical productions both through his association with the Mabou Mines experimental theater collective based in New York City, of which he was a co-founder more than three decades ago, and independently.

Award-winning writer/director, Lee Breuer, is a founding member of Mabou Mines Theatre Company, a MacArthur Fellow, stage director, author (The Warrior Ant, Ecco Porco and La Divina Caricatura), lyricist and co-creator of the theater productions such as The Gospel at Colonus, Peter and Wendy and the critcially acclaimed Mabou Mines' DollHouse currently touring worldwide.

 

"It is experimental theatre that moves the art forward
and pushes audiences to think outside the standards."

-- Julie-Kate Cooper, CVNC An Online Arts Journal

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