THE GNÄDIGES FRÄULEIN
[By Tennessee Williams]
PROVINCETOWN TW THEATER FESTIVAL
Produced by Texas Tech University *
Defying classification, The Gnädiges Fräulein is always two things at once. On its surface a comedy, complete with a Vaudevillian duo, Molly and Polly. Their pratfalls and slapstick live happily in the imaginary Cocaloony Key, where a colony of giant, pelican-like seabirds nest.
The heart of the play, however, lies with its tragic title character, an aging European cabaret sensation teetering on the brink of extinction, living on memories and thrown-away fish, “between the dark and the daylight.” Amid the cartoonish-seeming narrative, Williams skillfully weaves a mercilessly cruel, existential drama into the life-affirming and life-effacing fabric of comedy.
I was initially intimidated by this difficult late Williams work, but the surrealist production we created proved a successful framework for the play's equally comic and tragic points of view.
Scenery & Lighting | Shannon Robert
Costumes | Cassandra Trautman
Sound & Music | Jacob Henry
Stage Manager | Rachel Campoli
Company Manager | Cory Norman
Venue Manager | Aryn Colonero
Producer | Mark Charney
Director | Jef Hall-Flavin
Polly | Rachel Hirshorn
Molly | Anthea Thompson
Fräulein | Francine Segal
Indian Joe | Ryan McCrary
Cocaloony | Randall Rapstine
Transient | Ian Leahy
* This production can be booked for touring
WHAT PEOPLE SAID
[HOWLROUND THEATRE COMMONS]
...directed by Festival Director Jef Hall-Flavin, the play’s ridiculous plot was sharpened rather than smoothed by three sensational comedic actresses and a set and costume design straight out of an expressionist cartoon.
Jef Hall-Flavin’s excellent production of this difficult but rewarding play achieved a balancing act all too rare when it comes to structurally hybrid works such as this.