Fox and Hound Theatre Company are proud to present A Trio of Tennessee Williams, featuring three of Williams’ lesser performed works: Ivan’s Widow, Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen & 27 Wagons Full of Cotton. These three pieces showcase the range and complexity of both the writer, and the characters he creates; focusing specifically on his talent to write strong and powerful females trapped in difficult situations.
A widow struggles to differentiate between fantasy and reality. She seeks help from a psychiatrist, a cold predatory man, determined to make a breakthrough in her case.
A psychiatrists’ office, 1950s America.
In attempting to cope with her husband’s death, she seeks answers from her psychiatrist and “the bottle” whilst struggling to differentiate between fantasy and reality.
The psychiatrist is a cold, promiscuous and predatory man, but with a seemingly genuine concern for his patient. His questions create momentum shifts that add to the delirium of the situation. He tries to get her to accept that her husband is dead but is met with resistance and denials that lead him to take stronger action.
The play pivots around the psychiatrists’ determination to make a breakthrough in her case, creating a nervous but intriguing tale. After the recounting of a fantastical dream she tries to escape the confines of his office and winds up dead, but how and by whose hand, we may never know.
This play leaves you wondering whose truth is real…
She is stopped from leaving the office, her breast is touched, and he moves her forcibly to a seat. She is injected in the buttock and his hand rests on his crotch. She dies in the end but by what means it is unknown.
TALK TO ME LIKE THE RAIN AND LET ME LISTEN
A couple find themselves in a cycle of deprivation. With ravaged appearances, the scene between them is one of eternal repetition, where emotions are worn out and the hopelessly unalterable is accepted.
Setting: A studio flat, 1930’s New York.
In economic depression a couple find themselves in a cycle of deprivation. They have ravaged appearances and the scene between them is one of eternal repetition where emotional content is worn out and they live in the acceptance of something hopelessly inalterable.
The man spends his benefits each week on drink and gambling, awaking from his bender in all sorts of places including a skip and a bath of ice cubes, sometimes having been beaten up or abused but unaware when and by whom.
The woman stays at home, only drinking water, staring out of the window fantasizing about being thin enough and light enough for the sea breeze to pick her up and carry her away to a better life. She is stuck, unable to leave and make a life by the sea as she desires, only able to recount the fantasy which appears to soothe both the man and the woman in desperate loneliness.
There is a retelling of abuses the man has suffered whilst drunk or perhaps as a means of acquiring alcohol.
27 WAGONS FULL OF COTTON
In desperate times, rules are different. Do two wrongs make a right? A dysfunctional relationship is at the centre of this disturbing look at abuse and how one woman may find her silver lining.
Setting: The Meighan’s Farm Cottage, 1933, Blue Mountain Mississippi.
A syndicate cotton plantation’s equipment burns, and Jake Meighan returns from his night-time excursion. Flora Meighan is forcefully reminded that he never left the porch all night. The next day Jake is offered a lucrative opportunity from the superintendent of the Plantation and agrees ‘The Good Neighbour Policy’ in exchange, except that the exchange includes his wife who knows nothing of the deal. Silva Vicarro, the superintendent, plays with Flora like a spider does a fly; before he takes her inside the cottage, raping and beating her.
When Jake returns he ignores Flora’s obvious state of distress, feeling very pleased with the deal and all his hard work. Something shifts in Flora, a move away from playing the baby, an understanding that this is a long-term exchange and that perhaps despite the situation she may end up with the thing she most desires but cannot get from her husband.
Flora is roughly manhandled by Jake, twisting her arm, and choking her. Flora also has a riding crop used on her several times by Vicarro. Unseen Flora is further beaten and raped, re-entering the stage bloodied and semi-dressed. There is use of a racially offensive term.
Total running time including interval: 1 hour 55 minutes
Age Guidance: 14+
Ellie Stevens – Director
Fiona McKeon – Designer
Sam Fox – Production assistant
Becks Granger – Assistant Producer