[By Tennessee Williams]
PROVINCETOWN TW FESTIVAL
Williams was made famous with a mother-son drama, and it's a theme he explored often in his short plays. What could have been another depressing production of a mother-son tragedy became a raucous celebration on the streets of Provincetown.
Auto-da-Fé takes place in the French Quarter of New Orleans, where music and debauchery infuse the very air. A sickly, closeted, shame-filled not-so-young man has a dirty secret that results in an argument with his ultra-Catholic inquisitor of a mother on their front porch. So naturally we staged it on a porch, and in New Orleans fashion, we framed the play with a brass band. First a funeral procession passed by, then after the tragic events of the play, a raucous second line complete with Mardi Gras costumes (schlepped all the way from New Orleans) provided a redemptive, celebratory ending.
The power of music elevated a maudlin play to become a spectacle to remember. The production was invited the following year to the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival.
Scenery | Ellen Rousseau
Sound | Katharine Horowitz
Costumes | Carol Sherry
Mardi Gras Costumes | Albert Carey and
The Krewe of Armeinius (New Orleans)
Venue Management | Samantha Sewell
Stage Management | Timothy Babcock
Coordinating Director | Susan Grilli
Direction | Jef Hall-Flavin
Mme. Duvenet | Cristine McMurdo-Wallis
Eloi | Ben Berry
KREWE OF PROVINCETOWNIUS
Creole Tomato | Albert Carey
Creole Tomato | Channing Blakemoore
Creole Tomato | Tim Wolff
Horseradish | Dr. John Prejean
Tabasco | Will Andrews
Second Line Extravaganza | Chris Brooke, Tom DeMille, James Lombard, Marcia Mello, Melissa Nussbaum-Freeman
Clarinet | Mark Cheniver
Trombone | John Ferry
Sousaphone | Bryan MacMartin
Trumpet | Arty Barbato
Drums | Ted Larkin
WHAT PEOPLE SAID
“Auto-da-Fe” was captivating from moment one.
Set on the porch of the Gifford
House, a brass band led in the audience and set the mood.
"Auto-Da-Fe," a one-act, superbly directed by Jef Hall-Flavin, was performed on the porch at Gifford House, while the audience sat inside a tent on lawn chairs… The one-act ends, just as the Hot Tamale Brass Band emerges from the bowels of Gifford House and takes Ptown’s Carver Street by storm, replete with a costumed entourage carrying a black draped coffin. The effect was riotous and jolting. It undercut the tragedy that had just been performed on the porch, and fulfilled the mission of music in the Williams’ play, namely that it play on, even during the darkest depths of despair, to move us past our petty meanderings.