top of page


[By Tennessee Williams]

New Orleans

March 2016

To me, the mythopoetic Orpheus Descending contains facets of every driving force behind Tennessee Williams' writing. Its characters, themes, symbols, theology, and humanity, speak of his origins and his destinations as a poet-playwright. In truth, it's a very difficult play, but (like some of Shakespeare's best), its dramaturgical messiness is also its great allure.

Nick Potenzieri's 2010 production in a small Provincetown church inspired me, and it's where I first saw Irene Glezos' powerhouse performance as Lady Torrance. The church setting reconciled the overt Christian symbolism with the Greek myth that fuels the plot, while giving resonance to the dense poetic speeches. 


Foregoing naturalism, I set the play in the underworld, ruled by Hades: a crumbling, subterranean cathedral into which the title character descends. The un-dead townspeople were under the spell of a demonic and racist Jabe Torrance, from whom Lady could not escape. A key to this production was the transitional figure of Uncle Pleasant, a black Choctaw shaman... a silent ferryman living between the world of the living and the dead. It is against this backdrop that we watch the failed rescue attempt of a doomed and powerful love.


+ Nominations


Scenery | Michael Kramer +

Costumes  | Tony French

Music & Sound | Brendan Connelly

Lighting | Mandi Wood +

Direction | Jef Hall-Flavin


Lady Torrance | Irene Glezos +

Val Xavier | Todd d’Amour

Carol Cutrere | Beth Bartley

Beulah Binnings | Brenda Currin

Jabe Torrance | Carl Palmer

Eva Temple | Morrey McElroy

Sister Temple | Lisa Shattuck

PeeWee Binnings | Michael Sullivan

Dolly Hamma | Cammie West

Nurse Porter | Lin Gathright

Dog Hamma | Jordan Kaplan

Uncle Pleasant | Donald Lewis

Sheriff Talbott | Roger Magendie

Vee Talbott | Dorian Rush

David Cutrere | James Wright Jr

Townsperson | Sarah Beth James

Townsperson | Meghan Shea

Townsperson | Matthew Rigdon

Henchman/Swing | David Brown

Assistant Stage Mgr | Logan Faust


[John Barrios & Ride Hamilton]



Like the Greek god on which the play is based, Orpheus Descending has been rising like a phoenix since its first Provincetown production to take its rightful place among the classics of the Williams canon.

Cree McCree


Southern Rep's current production captures ...the Southern Gothic grotesqueries that would so often be a hallmark of Williams' work...

Theodore P. Mahne

bottom of page