Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
Auckland Theatre Company
Media Release: CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF
For immediate release
Big Daddy is dying; the vultures are circling.
Maggie the Cat saunters onto the Maidment Theatre stage on July 10 in Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece of secrets and lies, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF.
"There are few playwrights who plumb the human heart so deeply"
The Daily Telegraph
Sizzling with verbal fireworks, savage humour and sexual friction, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF is a timeless, indelible portrait of a wealthy Mississippi clan.
Surrounded by greedy relatives, over bearing in-laws, hyperactive children “Maggie-the-Cat” and her indifferent husband Brick are forced to confront their uncertain futures as they manoeuvre through a maze of avarice and hypocrisy.
Smoldering with sensuality, audacious characters, and rich in poetic language CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF is one of the enduring classics of twentieth century American drama.
delicately wrought exercise in human communication…as
theatre, it is superb".
The New York Times
Pulitzer Prize winning dramatist, novelist and poet, Tennessee Williams intended that CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF “snare the truth of human experience”. As in his other great dramas, A STREET CAR NAMED DESIRE and THE GLASS MENAGERIE, Williams explores the conflict between a fading ethos of Southern gentility and a savage modern world in the play.
His elegant style enabled him to tackle America’s sexual taboos and conservative social values with shocking frankness. When the play was first staged in 1955 it became a runaway hit and was made into a major feature movie starring Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman.
Auckland Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Colin McColl, who directs the production, has achieved an international reputation for modernizing classics. Recently his production of THE CRUCIBLE by Arthur Miller, won New Zealand Listener Best Production 2007.
Says Colin McColl: “The characters are all scheming for the greatest slice of Big Daddy’s estate. They are the kind of powerful people who nowadays would live their lives in public, through tabloids and TV news, yet all of them have secrets to hide.
“In updating the play we have set the production in a lush and opulent hotel, where the family gathers for Big Daddy’s birthday celebration. In this transient public environment, beautifully designed by Tony Rabbit, we have a sense that each character could easily be caught out and the family is a house-of-cards about to come tumbling down.
The knife edge tension is intensified by John Gibson’s brooding soundtrack which underscores the duplicitous family relationships and Nic Smillie captures contemporary American opulence and excess in the costumes.
The large cast of 12 actors features veterans of the New Zealand stage through to new comers.
Toni Potter stars as “Maggie-the-Cat”, a desperate housewife trapped in loveless marriage with her athletic but closeted husband “Brick.” Returning to the stage for her first break from television since 2005, Toni Potter says she is relishing the opportunity the challenge of theatre. “In television, success can be just getting through the scene having nailed all the lines but theatre tests an actor’s artistry,” she says.
Gareth Reeves steps up once again to play one of contemporary theatre’s iconic roles. Brick is a man grieving for his recently dead best friend, a fellow athlete with whom he had an intimate relationship. Reeves is no stranger to challenging roles, having performed lead characters for Auckland Theatre Company in the American classics THE CRUCIBLE and WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLF. In 2006 Reeves won Best Performance by an Actor in Television award for his portrayal of Luc in INSIDER’S GUIDE TO LOVE.
In a casting against type Stuart Devenie plays Southern Patriarch, Big Daddy. “Stuart is a wonderfully tough actor, he’ll at once be both a hard nosed southern landowner and a vulnerable fallen giant who’s death is imminent, in denial about having cancer,” says McColl. Alison Quigan, who is also taking a break from Shortland Street, will play Big Mamma.
Goretti Chadwick, Peter Daube, Jacque Drew, Paul Glover, Michael Keir-Morrissey and Edward Reni complete the cast. Six young actors from across Auckland will play the children on alternate nights.
CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF plays at The Maidment Theatre from July 10 until August 2. Bookings can be made at the Maidment Theatre 09 308 2383 or www.atc.co.nz.
CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF by TENNESSEE WILLIAMS
Starring: Toni Potter, Gareth Reeves,
Alison Quigan, Stuart Devenie, Goretti Chadwick, Peter
Daube, Jacque Drew, Paul Glover, Michael Keir-Morrissey and
Writer: Tennessee Williams
Direction: Colin McColl
Designers: Tony Rabbit, John Gibson, Nic Smillie
Maidment Theatre, July 10 – August 2
Tuesday - Wednesday 6.30pm, Thursday - Saturday 8.00pm
Monday 14 July, 6.30pm
Matinee Saturday 17 May at 2.00pm
Tickets: $25 - $54 (booking fees apply)