By Jon Putzke
The month of September will keep not only the Guild actors, staff, and crew busy but its audiences as well, with 10 X Tenn, the first annual month-long theatre festival featuring at least 10 events by or about Tennessee Williams. The festival will open on September 7 with the Welcome Williams Wine Party on the patio with a fabulous display in the theatre lobby of memorabilia from the Tennessee Williams Museum in Key West, Florida. Curators Dennis Beaver and Bret Wite will welcome everyone and give a brief background of the display depicting the life and times of Mr. Williams and what patrons can expect from the Theatre Guild during the entire month of September. Following the brief seminar will be a feature film Tennessee Williams' South. Williams is front and center in this classic exploration by reading directly from his works, placing them in the context of his life, and serving as a guide in visits to his career shaping refuge in New Orleans and his later day writing in Key West.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Pam Harbaugh and featuring a cast of locals in all roles, will be the Guild's anchor production for the month, opening on Friday, September 9, and running through September 30. Additional monthly events will feature staged readings of The Glass Menagerie, Summer and Smoke trouped in from Florida members of the American Association of Community Theatres, including A Streetcar Named Desire by the Lake Worth Playhouse. In addition, that evening will draw out the many Marlon Brando wannabes during the "Stella" Contest held in the east parking lot following the performance. The contest winner will receive two tickets to the November production Musical Chairs.
Movie Nights will occur throughout the month showing the Tennessee Williams classics Sweet Bird of Youth, The Rose Tattoo, The Night of the Iguana, and Suddenly Last Summer. The Guild's wine bar will be open for all events during the festival, and many will feature informal talk-back sessions on the patio after the live performances and film screenings.
Two one-act plays running as a double-bill on Thursday evenings include This Property Is Condemned, directed by Artistic Director Jon Putzke, and the only comedy written by Tennessee Williams, The Case of the Crushed Petunias, under Tory Malfoy's direction.
In conjunction with the Guild's Education Academy, on September 13, Michael D. Naffziger will hold a master acting class, Ten and the Will (10 decisions to find the will of your character.) Tuesday, September 20, will be an organized debate over inclusive casting. Both educational events will take place on the second floor of the east wing.
Booze & Blues at Moon Lake Casino, a live cabaret night on the patio, will celebrate the festival's closing on October 1. Jacob Craig and his jazz trio will perform with several Guild singers entertaining patrons with the music that surrounded the career of one of the most distinguished American playwrights of our time, Tennessee Williams. Included that evening will be a Southern Bourbon Tasting, wine bar, food truck, and the opportunity to meet many participants and performers from the festival productions.
Money-saving Ticket Bundles for the theatre festival will go on sale on August 15. Complete information can be found on the Guild’s website verobeachtheatreguild.com or by phoning the box office Mondays through Fridays from 10 am to 2 pm at 772-562-8300