Tennessee Williams wrote many notable plays but it’s his earlier works like The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that are produced, so it’s a treat when some of his more brazen characters get a chance to take the stage.
Small Craft Warnings, directed by Barnaby Edwards and Marcus Gualberto, is one such play, an expansion of an earlier one-act play called Confessional. The story is of Monk, a seaside bar owner, played by Robert Maisonett, who is thrust into the lives of the characters who frequent his bar.
Written in the seventies, this work is a reflection of Tennessee’s personal struggles, including that of his sexuality and the cultural climate at the time. If you remember watching Cat On A Hot Tin Roof than you know you had to be quick to catch that one of the main characters was gay (which was ultimately cut from the movie version), but by 1972, Williams was more comfortable with being overt in his use of gay characters and themes.
Violet, played by a riveting Jenne Vath, is in many ways a metaphor for the hypocrisy surrounding queer people that existed during the seventies. While those around her condemn gay men for their promiscuous lifestyles, Violet went about her life seeking the very same instant gratifications but in a far more brazen manner. Booze, cigarettes, anonymous sex help her indulge in self-soothing behaviour’s that ultimately keep her feeling safe, while the motley crew of characters around her spiral out of control in their search for self.
Highlights of the performance include George A Morafetis’s moving confession of his shortcomings as a doctor, Quentin (Jason Pintar) and Bobby’s (Christian Musto) palatably tense relationship, and the power struggle between Bill (Jed Peterson) and Leona (Nicole Greevy) was a dramatic rollercoaster ride with a wacky funhouse of personalities.
Small Craft Warnings
November 1-11, 2018
13th Street Repertory Theatre
New York City