SEPTEMBER 26 - 29, 2019


September 2014

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Illustration by David Chick

The Member of the Wedding

by Carson McCullers
Race, politics, sex, and adolescence swirl around twelve-year-old tomboy Frankie as she struggles with life in her small Southern town. The Festival's new staging, as a radio play with an all black cast, brings new attention to a touching and poetic classic by one of America's finest novelists.
directed by Jade King Carroll
featuring Brenda Thomas

The Provincetown TW Theater Festival

in association with New Urban Theatre Laboratory, Boston, MA

Illustration by David Chick

Event Sponsored By:

Free Lunch Foundation


Adopt a show at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival

This Show is Supported with $500 gifts from:
Jacqueline Kroschwitz
Jerry Popolis 


Past Festivals

"All people belong to a We except me. Not to belong to a We makes you too lonesome..."
— Frankie, from The Member of the Wedding

"I can think of few better dramatic evocations of childhood...
a memorable portrait of adolescence."
— Charles Spencer, The Telegraph

About the Play

Frankie is twelve, and a bit of a misfit in her small Southern town. Her only friend is her six-year-old cousin, the effeminate John Henry West. Her brother Jarvis is getting married to glamorous Janice, and Frankie, who is in love with both of them, wants to go along on their honeymoon. The innocent Frankie is counseled by the worldly Berenice, the black woman who works as Frankie's family housekeeper.

Carson McCullers wrote this adaptation of her novel in the summer of 1946 in Nantucket, sitting at the same table where Tennessee Williams was working on his play Summer and Smoke.

About the Production

Boston's New Urban Theatre Laboratory (the group that staged the remarkable Gift of an Orange in 2012), partners with the Festival to rethink the meanings of black, white, innocence, wisdom, and life as a tomboy.

Brenda Thomas

The Member of the Wedding is staged as a radio play, with minimal design and an emphasis on the vocal performances of the actors, who will draw our attention to the sounds and nuances of McCullers' writing.

Veteran actress Brenda Thomas will play Berenice, the black family housekeeper who offers her counsel to the unhappy tomboy Frankie. Thomas has been performing in regional and Off-Broadway theatres throughout the US for over 40 years, including at the Guthrie Theater, Yale Rep, Milwaukee Rep, Center Stage in Baltimore, and Actors Theatre of Louisville.

She was most recently seen in the Hartford TheatreWorks production of The Sty of the Blind Pig, for which she received a Connecticut Critics Circle Award.


Jade King CarrollJade King Carroll will direct the production. Carroll's recent credits include Trouble In Mind at Two River Theater, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom at Portland Stage, and A Raisin In The Sun at Juilliard. She also worked as Associate Director for A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway with director Emily Mann.

Carroll is a TCG New Generations Future Leader Award recipient and received the Paul Green Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Professional from the National Theatre Conference and The Estate of August Wilson.







About Carson McCullers

Carson McCullers (February 19, 1917– September 29, 1967) was an American writer whose novels, plays, poetry, and stories explore the lives of eccentrics and outsiders in contemporary Southern life. Her major theme, Tennessee Williams once said, was “the huge importance and near insoluble problems of human love.”

McCullers was born Lula Carson Smith in Columbus, Georgia, and lived there through high school. After a bout of rheumatic fever disrupted her plans to study music in her teenage years, McCullers developed a passion for writing, and she moved to New York City to take classes and study fiction at Columbia and at NYU.

In 1940, when McCullers was 23, her debut novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter became an instant bestseller. The book, which took readers into the troubled minds of the residents of a small Southern town, did much to set the tone and mood of her seven other books, which include the novels Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941) and The Member of the Wedding (1946).

In her mid 20s, on the heels of her divorce from writer Reeves McCullers in Charlotte, North Carolina, she moved back to New York City and became a member of the Brooklyn art commune February House. She also lived in Paris for a time following World War II. Over the years she became friends with numerous writers, musicians, and entertainers, among them Tennessee Williams, Paul and Jane Bowles, Truman Capote, W. H. Auden, and Gypsy Rose Lee.

The theatrical version of The Member of the Wedding, adapted by McCullers, premiered in 1950 on Broadway, where it had a successful year-long run.

McCullers spent much of her adult life in battle with alcoholism and chronic illness. In addition to the rheumatic fever of her teenage years, she suffered from a series of strokes that left her paralyzed on her left side by her early 30s. She died in 1967 in Nyack, New York at the age of 50.

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