Suddenly Last Summer
by Tennessee Williams
Touring November 2017
Catharine - Cathy Edwards-Gill
Suddenly, Last Summer was a one-act play by Tennessee Williams. It opened off Broadway on January 7, 1958 as part of a double bill with another one-act play of Williams’ called Something Unspoken. Suddenly, Last Summer is considered one of Williams’ starkest and most poetic works.
It was made into a film in 1959 Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and produced by Sam Spiegel from a screenplay by Gore Vidal with cinematography by Jack Hildyard and production design by Oliver Messel. The film stars Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, and Montgomery Clift.
Review by David Vas
If allowed only one word to describe Open Space Theatre, then it would have to be ambitious. Not content to take on Tennessee Williams, a challenging and contrary playwright, the group have tackled one of his most lyrical and opaque works in a way that was both absorbing and deeply disturbing.
Notwithstanding a solid supporting cast, the stage was dominated by the central performances of Yves Green and Cathy Edwards-Gill, both outstanding as mother and niece. The play is bookended by exhausting monologues from each of them, presenting conflicting portraits of the unknowable, absent Sebastian.
Edwards-Gill was reliably hysterical – a woman driven mad by what she may, or may not, have seen – and achieved a raw authenticity of emotion that was genuinely upsetting. Green presented a different kind of madness, one of self-deception and wish-fulfilment, nicely underplaying Violet Venable as a melancholy grotesque - utterly vile, but as damaged as her niece Catharine.
Bolstered by David Green’s imaginative staging and coherent direction, their performances ensured that this grim, troubling work will haunt long after the play ended. To paraphrase Mrs Venable, it will be a while before I can cut this hideous story out of my brain.
A YOUNG woman, Catharine, is threatened with a risky brain operation in a desperate bid to prevent her relating the macabre death of her cousin, Sebastian, and his seedy lifestyle..
". . . we still lived in a world of light and shadow. But the shadow was almost as luminous as the light"
"We all use each other and that's what we call love . . .
" . . . something had broken, that string of pearls that old mothers hold their sons by . . . "
"No place for lunatics is a sweet, sweet place . . . "
"Most people's lives - what are they but trails of debris . . . "