Road To ParadiseDANCE THEATER
Dancing sailors and a young writer weave their bodies together over the water at the Boatslip to the heartfelt tune of Tennessee Williams.
choreography by Carson Efird
based on love poems by Tennessee Williams
Bennington CollegeBennington, VT
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9 am to 9 pm Monday - Friday
10 am to 6 pm Saturday & Sunday
866-789-TENN (8366) ext. 1
Walk-up sales during Festival Only:
September 20 - 24, 2017
Wed - Sat, 10am - 8pm
Sunday 10am - 5pm
Box Office Location:
Sage Inn and Lounge
336 Commercial St
Provincetown, MA 02657
“ONLY FOR PEOPLE LIKE US, WHO HAVE GONE BEYOND SHAME.”
-- LETTER FROM CAPTAIN JACK’S WHARF, JULY 30, 1940 TO DONALD WINDHAM
About the Piece
Dance is ever-present in the theater of Tennessee Williams. In The Glass Menagerie, the dance between shy Laura and her Gentleman Caller is the turning point of the play; in The Parade and this year’s world premiere, Aimez-Vous Ionesco? self-involved dancers are the unheeding objects of desire. Williams’ first play, Beauty is the Word, written in 1930, ends with a dance on a beach (in Tahiti) – led by a former chorus girl defying her missionary aunt. Waltzes in A Streetcar Named Desire and The Rose Tattoo repeat a motif in Williams’ work: the body’s liberating wisdom and the struggle against it.
Williams ambitiously drafted a dance-drama for the renowned Martha Graham, titled The Paper Lantern, and as late as 1980 was preparing a trilogy of dance-dramas including Now the Cats With Jewelled Claws (TW Fest 2010).
Williams himself was a good dancer, taught first by his sister Rose. He was sought out as a “stag” for fraternity dance parties in St. Louis.
Road to Paradise was the first performance at the first year of the Provincetown TW Festival Choreographer Carson Efird had graduated from Bennington College the year before. Her dancers were then current Bennington students. The 2015 revival is danced by men and women who are now studying at Bennington.
Moved by the power of Williams’ Provincetown poetry and diaries, choreographer Carson Efird created the celebratory Road to Paradise. Dance, words, and 1940s pop tunes pass on the bliss and terror of falling in love for the first time.
Williams spent his first $100 Rockefeller Foundation grant on a wind-up Victrola, which he brought to the Cape. The music for Road to Paradise is what he liked to play on it, from Bing Crosby’s “Sweet Lelilani” to Caruso arias.
Performed in 2006 inside the Cabral Wharf House with the bay door pulled open for a view of the water, this year’s Road to Paradise is danced on the deck of the Boatslip.
Behind the Scenes
An all new cast from Bennington College is busy rehearsing Road to Paradise in the hills of Vermont, preparing for their journey to the shores of Provincetown.
In this moment, dancers portray Williams meeting Kip for the first time, just as Tennessee recounts in his memoirs, with "Sweet Leilani" playing in the background.
Pictured left to right are Charles Pisano, Asa Learmonth, and Rory Cullen, as they rehearse a moment inspired by Tennessee Williams first impression of Kip Kiernan:
“It must have been only two or three days later that I encountered Kip on Captain Jack’s Wharf … I will never forget the first look I had at him, standing with his back to me at the two-burner stove, the wide and powerful shoulders and the callipygian ass such as I had never seen before!”
-- Tennessee Williams
photo by Sue Rees