Pink Melon Joyby Gertrude Stein
Forever radical, forever modern, Gertrude Stein’s portraits of women are celebrations of language, playful plays, playful plays on words.
directed by Katherine Brook
A Festival ProductionProvincetown, MA and New York, NY
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I enjoy reading Gertrude Stein at night, I love the cold wine at supper."
- Tennessee Williams', diary entry October 1951
About the Play
Breaking with convention, Katherine Brook created a stimulating and unforgettable setting for Pink Melon Joy at the 2013 Festival.gave room for the director to collaborate with her unnamed characters and locations. Director
Audiences entered a world of pink where women gather for a baby shower that morphs into a raucous dinner party and a dark after-party.
About Stein and Pink Melon Joy:
Gertrude Stein, who began to write plays in 1913, when Tennessee Williams was two years old, cheerfully ignored any expectations of dramatic convention. Stein’s dramas are without plot in the usual sense, and typically they’re without direct action or consistent characterizations. Stein’s dialogue is her signature: repetitive circular speech whose sound is as important as its sense.
Stein achieved fame with one sentence “Rose is a Rose is a Rose” printed as a circle on her letterhead, its form as important as the meaning of the words. Her plays work the same way. Her visual, spatial theater –– what she called a theater of "landscape" –– places words in performance as if they were objects to be juggled with nuanced dramatic flair.
Stein's drama asks us to reconsider what the theater is and what it could be. Her plays invite directors to collaborate as artists in their own right with her open, ambiguous wordplay and rich images. The Festival’s production of Pink Melon Joy, directed by Katherine Brook, features a contagious pregnancy, giddy politeness, and innovative staging, in line with Brooks’ production of Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer performed in an empty swimming pool in Pittsburgh.
Pink Melon Joy was written during World War I, which broke out while Stein and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, were away from their apartment in Paris visiting friends in England. The liveliness and awkwardness of being a long-term house guest is reflected in the text. The play focuses on social niceties and household details, shadowed by the profound changes to life as Stein and Toklas had known it brought on by the First World War. Stein, a consummate host herself, had a sharp eye for the strangeness of domestic intimacy, as well as a sensitivity to assumptions about male and female roles in life and onstage.
Williams first learned about Stein in his poetry club at Washington University in Saint Louis. He read her for pleasure and inspiration throughout his life. A 1951 diary entry playfully mentions:"I enjoy reading Gertrude Stein at night, I love the cold wine at supper."
About the Creative Team
More information coming soon.