by Tennessee Williams
On a sultry summer evening at a Mississippi plantation home, the Pollitt family gathers to celebrate Big Daddy’s 65th birthday. However, the celebration has a dark secret. Big Daddy has terminal cancer and everyone knows, but him and Big Mama. Brick, the youngest Pollitt son, and his wife Maggie are at odds – she desperately wants a child, he just wants to be left alone. Gooper, the eldest, and his wife Mae want in on the family fortune. As the evening progresses the temperature rises. Secrets are revealed, past sins are exposed, and old family wounds are opened. Triad Stage reimagines this 1955 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about truths, lies, desire, and family.
Presented by Bank of North Carolina.
Kicking off its 15th anniversary of producing live professional theater in downtown Greensboro, Triad Stage is presenting “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” One of the reasons live theater is so popular stems from the way it thrives and consistently changes with setting, rehearsals and the breath of a live audience engaging in the story. It allows audience members to experience the same plays differently each time, and the laws of physics, technology and human error play big roles on performance nights. Live theater is often mesmerizing, messy and incredibly unpredictable.
The second act of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof bleeds irony. Big Daddy, patriarch of the Pollitt family, revels in the news that he isn’t dying of cancer, a lie his children fed him. With a renewed lust for life, Big Daddy heckles his son Brick about the previous night when his son sprained his ankle, suggesting Brick did so while having sex with a woman. The notion that his son might be gay eludes him.
"Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t cast stones." At least that was the phrase running through my head during Triad Stage’s newest production of Tennessee Williams’ seminal play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which opened Friday night to some of the biggest theatrical fireworks in the Triad since the company’s production of The Glass Menagerie.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof tells the story of a wealthy Mississippi family whose lives revolve around a complex web of lies and secrets. Broadway actress Christina DeCicco plays Maggie, the family’s daughter-in-law. Much of the play focuses on Maggie and her husband, Brick. Growing up on Long Island, N.Y., DeCicco said she wasn’t raised in a show business family, but said, "My parents would take me into the city to see Broadway shows. I thought, 'Maybe I want to do this.'"
Bornandbred Southerners understand subtleties, white lies and passive aggression. It’s a unique culture that prides itself on genuine southern hospitality, and yet a polite smile isn’t always a truthful indication of one’s fondness for someone. Deceit is accepted for the sake of nice, and family is what matters most. We’re difficult to figure out. But that isn’t stopping New York resident John O’Creagh from performing as the cotton plantation owner, Big Daddy, in Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
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