SEPTEMBER 26 - 29, 2019


Lorita from DanceLoop Chicago, 2008 / Photo: Sofia Piel

Lorita! (Happy August the Tenth)

by Tennessee Williams
directed by Paula Frasz
starring Casey Pennel, Heather Kroski, Christina Eltvedt, Margaret Reynolds, Jacob Wallingford and Paula Frasz.

DanceLoop Chicago

Chicago, Illinois USA

"Happy August the Tenth" is a short story by Tennessee Williams about two businesswomen, Elphinstone and Horne, sweltering through a New York summer along with their parrot Lorita. Williams ends his story with Horne asleep on a loveseat, her calves encircled by her friend’s thin arms, as “Elphinstone whispered Happy August the Eleventh to Horne’s kneecaps.”

The Chicago-based choreographer Paula Frasz took up the challenge of adapting the story for performance on the dance floor of the Crown and Anchor in Provincetown. She has set her dance, titled Lorita!, on her company, DanceLoop Chicago.  Dances inspired by Tennessee Williams' writings are various. There are a few Streetcar ballets, beginning in 1952, when Valerie Bettis created a Streetcar ballet for Mia Slavenska and Frederic Franklin, one time stars of the Ballet Russ de Monte Carlo. In 2003, Paul Vasterling of The Nashville Ballet choreographed a ballet based on the story titled The Night of the Iguana. Last year at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, choreographer Charya Burt created a classical Cambodian dance out of The Glass Menagerie.

According to Williams scholar Allean Hale, Williams himself was an excellent dancer. Although he was reared in an Episcopalian rectory, his church evidently held no strictures against dancing. Before her marriage, his mother, Edwina, had danced in the chorus of several school productions and, as a debutante, treasured her many dance cards. Tom was taught to dance by his sister, Rose, as he suggests in an early story, “Apt. F. 3rd. Flo. So.” As a freshman at the University of Missouri, too shy to ask for a date, he was a welcome stag at sorority dances because of his accomplished dancing.

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