Madame LeMonde & Aimez-Vous Ionesco?by Tennessee Williams
Comic horrors await in the attic, where the original 2009 cast returns with their ruthlessly riotous “Madame LeMonde,” plus a short Williams play making its world debut in Provincetown.
directed by Davis Robinson
featuring the Original Cast
Beau Jest Moving TheatreBoston, MA
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10 am to 6 pm Saturday & Sunday
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September 20 - 24, 2017
Wed - Sat, 10am - 8pm
Sunday 10am - 5pm
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336 Commercial St
Provincetown, MA 02657
“...Required viewing for those who love Williams in all of his artistic manifestations,
and of interest to theatergoers who relish a first-rate theatrical imagination
applied to the mordantly unusual.”
-- ArtsFuse (Boston)
About the Plays
The Remarkable Rooming House of Madame LeMonde
Atop Madame Le Monde’s London boarding house, baby-faced Mint, unable to use his legs, swings from hooks attached to the garret ceiling. Mint, abused on a regular basis by one of his landlady’s many male spawn, is taunted by LeMonde, who withholds his meals. When Hall, an old chum from Mint’s childhood boarding school (“Scrotum-on-Swansea”) drops in for tea, Williams’ dark humor ratchets up.
A year before Williams passed away he prepared the text for publication. In 1984, Albondocani Press posthumously issued 176 copies. With elements of British music-hall farce, theater of cruelty, Vaudeville, burlesque and slapstick, the resulting admixture slaps open a window on the mature Williams' view of the world.
Other late plays such as The Mutilated and Gnädiges Fräulein explore the disenfranchised denizens of kinky desire. These "slapstick tragedies" are the antithesis of what a rooming house should be: a place of refuge. Instead, the rooming house becomes a dehumanizing agent of dispossession.
While some critics thought the play "unstageable," we beg to differ. Its audaciousness and sometimes downright unpleasant subject matter is what Festival audiences embraced -- and laughed at, hard -- when it premiered in Provincetown in 2009.
As a lagniappe* to Madame LeMonde, the Beau Jest ensemble shuffles its queens and jokers to deal out the world premiere of Williams’ Aimez-Vous Ionesco? - a yet madder tea party attended by a self-adoring ballet dancer. This is the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival’s eleventh world premiere production of a Tennessee Williams play.
The French title might be translated “Are you a friend of Ionesco?” but it might also mean “Do you like surreal theater?” The name Eugene Ionesco, a Romanian who wrote French surreal classics, like The Bald Soprano , is a byword for Theater of the Absurd.
* Lagniappe /læn?jæp; noun, Chiefly Southern Louisiana: an unexpected treat, for example a 13th doughnut when buying a dozen.
"Mrs. Axminister isn't staying for tea,
she's had a sudden attack of migraine and repeat-it-itis…"
- Delphine from Aimez-Vous Ionesco? by Tennessee WIlliams
About the Production
"Thank God we've got Beau Jest, the Charlestown Working Theater, and the
Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival to take us where our would-be teachers fear to tread."
-- The Hub Review (Boston)
Silly and cruel, like the theatrical love child of Wile E. Coyote and the Marquis de Sade, the acclaimed 2009 world premiere production of Madame LeMonde, directed by Davis Robinson and performed by his Beau Jest Moving Theatre, signaled a change in the critical reputation and popular reception of Williams.
Beau Jest’s second Williams world premiere in Provincetown was the Bonnie-and-Clyde-inspired American Gothic (TW Fest 2010). Aimez-Vous Ionesco? is their third.