Beckwith presents ‘Hot Tin’ classicPublished 10:05pm Thursday, July 26, 2012
The Beckwith Theater Company in downtown Dowagiac will debut its last production of the season, taking on Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
The play, set in the 1950s, details a family that is celebrating the 65th birthday of “Big Daddy.”
Though it’s supposed to be a party, the mood is dim as family members wrestle with greed, painful pasts and desperation for the future. Known to be Williams’ favorite piece of work, the production won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955.
With two weeks left to rehearse and polish the play, the cast members, led by director Rich Frantz, said they are excited for the Aug. 10 debut.
“I’m really looking forward to opening night,” Jeff Gunn, who plays Brick, said. “To have an audience there, it’ll be exciting.”
While the lines are becoming easier to remember, the cast hasn’t been without challenges.
“To get all working adults together and practice, that’s not an easy task,” George Tabbert, who plays Gooper, said.
Quinn Tabbert, playing the role of Maggie, agreed. She also said because the play is well known, the cast and crew have tried hard to do it justice.
“We want to make sure we stick to the integrity of the story and tell it right,” Quinn said.
For Dick Judd, as Rev. Tooker, Aug. 10 will be his personal debut as an actor.
“I’m a little nervous,” Judd said. “But it’s been fun and I’ve enjoyed working with everyone.”
Frantz, who is also co-chairman of the music committee for the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival, said the cast has put in a lot of hard work to get the characters right, which is why he chose each person purposefully.
“It’s a lot of work and a lot of long speeches,” Frantz said. “We’ve also got times where eight to 10 people are on stage all at once.”
Max Sala, who plays Big Daddy, said that having Frantz as a director will ensure the quality of the play is top-notch.
“One of the reasons it’s always unique to work with Rich is because there’s a chemistry,” Sala said. “There’s a bar that Rich sets and that’s why the stuff that Rich is involved in ends up high-quality.”
The cast said that while the play is from the 1950s, the themes will relate well to present day.
“The themes are incredibly relevant,” Quinn said.
“They’re universal, touching on things like greed and desperation,” he said.
“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” opens 7:30 p.m. Aug. 10 at Beckwith Theater, 100 New York Ave., Dowagiac. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by either calling the theater at (269) 782-7653, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other show dates include Aug. 11, 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. with shows at 2 p.m. Aug. 12 and 19.
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