Tennessee Williams Festival Includes Famous Artists
March 18, 2011 – Playwright Edward Albee, filmmaker John Waters and actress Kathleen Chalfant will be among the artists on campus later this month for the Tennessee Williams Centennial Festival, which includes staged productions, workshops, concerts, panels, screenings and readings.
Georgetown’s Theater and Performance Studies Program, its American Studies Program and Arena Stage are presenting the “Tenn Cent Fest” March 24-27 in celebration of what would have been Williams’ 100th birthday on March 26.
“It’s rare in my experience to have the opportunity to have a kind of really intensive cultural celebration of one figure and one figure whose work is so resonant and expansive,” says Derek Goldman, artistic director for Georgetown’s Davis Performing Arts Center.
Events start with Albee sharing his perspective on Williams’ work in an on-stage conversation with NPR’s Susan Stamberg March 24, with productions of Williams’ plays Camino Real Friday night and The Really Big Once on Saturday. The weekend closes on Sunday evening with a one-man show by Waters.
Other well-known individuals on campus for the festival include actress and adjunct professor Sarah Marshall, actor and musician Theodore Bikel, actress Joy Zinoman and actors Ted Van Griethuysen and Rick Foucheux.
“The weekend is going to be a great opportunity for our students who have been thinking and working on Williams for the last year to come together with many scholars and artists who have spent their lives thinking and working on Williams,” says Goldman, also associate professor of theater and performance studies.
Last semester, Goldman’s course “Tennessee Williams’ Worlds” inspired several of his students to get involved in the festival.
“I am excited that we can get these nationally acclaimed artists to come to the campus,” said Lucy Obus, a senior in the College who took the course. “I’m also really excited about the fact that this festival is a continuation of the class.”
During the festival, the theater department will also present The Glass Menagerie Project, a series of events that includes a production of William’s autobiographical play starring Marshall, readings and multimedia presentations. Georgetown students, young alumni and faculty are participating in the project.
In June, the project will be shown at Arena Stage’s new Mead Center for American Theater.
“Georgetown's doing a fantastic job of melding the academic and artistic worlds of theater, which makes it such an enriching experience,” says James “Jimmy” Dailey (C’11).
“[Williams’ plays] are still shocking, risqué, urgent, and strange,” he says. “It doesn’t feel like we’re dusting off the old classics. These are plays that really hit raw nerves.”
For more information, visit the Tennessee Williams Centennial Festival at Georgetown's website.