Stories of hardship, classic Tennessee Williams work to be showcased in fall
As the semester starts back up, so do the new seasons of various theaters around Columbia. For its first opening weekend, Workshop Theatre is putting on “Gruesome Playground Injuries,” directed by third-year theatre and media arts student, Rocco Thompson.
A new Broadway production written by playwright Rajiv Joseph, the story revolves around two characters who meet as children and chronicles their lives and relationship over the course of about 30 years. Each scene takes place after an injury.
“The play really examines the way they can’t find the right emotional synchronicity,” Thompson said.
Thompson chose two of his friends to play the two characters in the production.
“What’s nice about USC is that they’re very supportive with student projects,” said Thompson of his program.
In addition to “Gruesome Playground Injuries,” which will show at 7 p.m. on Aug. 19 and 20 for $5, Workshop Theatre will put on “Anything Goes,” “Dixie Swim Club,” “Jon & Jen,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Andrew Lippa’s Wild Party” this season.
For its upcoming season, like Workshop Theatre’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,’ the USC Department of Theatre and Dance will put on performances in celebration of the centennial of the birth of legendary playwright, Tennessee Williams. The celebration comes by way of the Tennessee Williams Festival which runs from Sept. 30 until Oct. 8.
“Two things that I think are very exciting this season are the Tennessee Williams productions. They are emotional and highly dramatic, and it’s just a riveting production,” said Kevin Bush, the marketing director for the department.
The festival will begin with “A Streetcar Named Desire” in Drayton Hall Theatre directed by Chris Clavelli. The other component of the festival will kick off on Oct. 5, “An Evening of One-Act Plays,” which will feature four one-act Tennessee Williams productions: “27 Wagons Full of Cotton,” “Lady of Larkspur Lotion,” “This Property Is Condemned” and “The Pretty Trap.” “The Pretty Trap” is a recently discovered early version of “The Glass Menagerie” and has never been performed in South Carolina before. To complement the acts, a dramaturgical presentation on Williams will be included.
This semester, the department will also put on “Polaroid Stories” in Longstreet Theatre, which is a drama about homeless children, drug dealers and prostitutes, as well as the streets they reside in.
Lab Theatre will put on “Oleanna,” a riveting drama about sexual harassment between a college professor and a student. The department will also perform “Romeo and Juliet,” directed by theatre professor Robert Richmond, who is known for his contemporary takes on Shakespearean classics.
For his latest Shakespearean work, Richmond already has high expectations.
“‘Romeo and Juliet’ meets ‘The Matrix,’” Bush said.