American plays run the gumut from serious drama to raucous comedy, and we have presented many of them.  We have produced some of the plays of writers we all recognize as world figures–Tennessee Williiams, Arthur Miller– and writers who create American plays that make us laugh and cry out loud–David Auburn, Edward Albee, Neil Simon,  Jeffrey Hatcher. These are only some of the American playwrights we have produced in our first thirty years.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE & THE GLASS MENAGERIE

Tennessee Williams, along with Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller is considered among the three foremost playwrights of 20th-century American drama. After years of obscurity, he became suddenly famous with THE GLASS MENAGERIE (1944), a play that closely reflected his own unhappy family background. This first triumph signaled a string of successes, including A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1947), CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (1955), and SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH (1959).

THE GLASS MENAGERIE ( Season 2008)
The Cast:
Tom/BILL EDWARDS*, Amanda/MARY ANN HAY*, Laura/KATIE TAME*, the Gentleman-Caller/GORDON GRAY( *Members of Actors Equity Association )

GlassMenageriewebpicTHE GLASS MENAGERIE tells the story of a young man  named Tom, his disabled sister, Laura, and their controlling  mother Amanda, who tries to make a match between Laura and a gentleman caller. Williams’ use of his own familial  relationships as inspiration for the play is impossible  to miss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (Season 2006)
The Cast:
Negro Woman/LAUREN JOYCEl, Blanche DuBois/BILLIE ANDERSSON*, Eunice Hubbell/RUTH DARCY Sailor/JASON SHANE, Stanley Kowalski/VINCENT LAMBERTI*, Pablo Gonzales/JUSTIN LOPEZ, Stella Kowalski/KATIE TAME*, Young Collector/BEN SCHAUB, Steve Hubbell/TOM LITRENTA, Mexican Woman/LAUREN JOYCE, Harold Mitchell(Mitch)/BILL RYDER*, Matron./PATRICIA MEACHAM, Doctor/BARRY MARINO ( *Denotes member, Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers)

STREETCARWEBPICAlthough Williams’s protagonist in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE is the romantic Blanche Dubois,  the play is a work of social realism. Blanche explains that she fibs because she refuses to accept  the hand fate has dealt her. Lying allows her to make life appear as it should be rather than as it is.  Stanley, a practical man firmly grounded in the physical world, disdains Blanche’s fabrications and  does everything he can to unravel them. The antagonistic relationship between Blanche and Stanley is a struggle between appearances and reality. Ultimately, Blanche’s attempts to remake her own and  Stella’s existences—to rejuvenate her life and to save Stella from a life with Stanley—fail.

Williams’s use of a flexible set that allows the street to be seen at the same time as the interior of the home expresses the notion that the home is not a domestic sanctuary.  The characters leave and enter the apartment throughout the play, often bringing with  them the problems they encounter in the larger environment. Blanche refuses to leave her  prejudices against the working class behind her at the door. The violence in the streets  foreshadow the violation that takes place in the Kowalskis’ home: the rape of Blanche by  Stanley , causing her final dissent into madness. Though reality triumphs over fantasy in  A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, Williams suggests that fantasy is an important and useful tool.  At the end of the play, Blanche’s retreat into her own private fantasies suggests that, to some  extent, fantasy is a vital force at play in every individual’s experience, despite reality’s inevitable
triumph.

ARTHUR MILLER: THE PRICE

Arthur Miller, like Tennessee Williams is one of America’s foremost playwrights of all time. Both lived and wrote mostly in the 20th century, but their works are universal and timeless. Miller’s most famous plays are DEATH OF A SALEMAN (1949), THE CRUCIBLE (1953), and VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE(1955). but he wrote many plays. Miller thought himself a writer of social plays with a strong emphasis on moral problems in American society and often questioned psychological causes of behavior. He also built on the realist tradition of Henrik Ibsen in his exploration of the individual’s conflict with society but also borrowed Symbolist and expressionist techniques from Bertholt Brecht and others. Miller often stressed that society made his characters what they are and how it dictated all of their fears and choices. Tri-State Actors produced Miller’s THE PRICE in season 2007.

THE PRICE, by Arthur Miller
The Cast:
Victor Franz/RANDALL McCANN, Esther Franz/TARA BOWLES, Gregory Solomon/P. BRENDAN MULVEY*, Walter Franz/PAULFALZONE* ( *Members of Actors Equity Association )

PriceWebpicArthur Miller’s THE PRICE is an old-fashioned play that explodes with the thunderous moral inquiry that has earned the author a place among the best of American playwriting.  Miller wrote THE PRICE in 1967 as the Vietnam War was surging.. The playwright had begun to feel “the absence of any interest in what had surely given birth to Vietnam, namely, its roots in the past.” His response was a play that dramatizes both the difficulty and necessity of untangling history.. “The Price” of the title is the legacy of the past. … past is dotted with choices, and the results of these choices govern the present. “You have to make decisions,” as one of the characters says here, “and you never know what’s what until it’s too late.”

Set in the cavernous attic of a Manhattan brownstone that’s about to be torn down, the play deals with the remnants of an estate that have been locked away for years. Two estranged middle-age brothers — one a policeman, Victor, who sacrificed a career to care for his father, the other a prosperous surgeon, Walter — must come to an agreement over the sale of these heirlooms. And when the characters are in pitched battle with one another, at last confronting their confounding and long-buried past, the play bursts into anguished meaning. THE PRICE builds to a standoff between the brothers, who contest each other’s version of family history. Victor’s wife, Esther is frustrated by her husband’s inability to rise in the world. Esther and the furniture appraiser, Gregory Solomon are on the periphery of the fraternal battle, but the theatrical color they supply enlivens us. The old antiques dealer offers much-needed comic relief to the audience. Solomon weaves through the play, part comic relief, part dramatic contrast, always amusing, always adept.