Lies and Liars Run Rampant in Avon Players Production of ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’

‘Why is it so damn hard for people to talk?’

Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

At its heart, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is the story of a family in crisis—a family that chooses to suffer in silence rather than speak their minds. Over the course of a sweltering evening at the family estate in Mississippi, the theme of mendacity (lack of honesty) runs rampant throughout each exchange between the characters and is further complicated by the genteel rules of Southern society.

Most are familiar with the 1958 film version of Cat starring Burl Ives as Big Daddy Pollitt, Paul Newman as his faded football star, turned alcoholic sportscaster son Brick, and Elizabeth Taylor as Brick’s frustrated wife, Maggie the cat. But do yourself a favor and forget those performances. For the roughly two hours in the dark of the theatre focus instead on the rich, lively language of Tennessee Williams and let its meaning wash over you. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

In Avon Players’ production, Maggie and Brick are played by real-life husband and wife Sandra and Joshua Monterosso. While the opening exchanges between Maggie and Brick simmer, you get the feeling there could have been a little more heat between them to reflect the bottled-up emotions each character is trying to express, while at the same time, repress. Since the entire play takes place within the confines of Maggie and Brick’s bedroom, it helps the audience experience the same suffocating confinement the characters feel as they interact with each other. Everyone keeps dancing around what desperately needs to be said: Big Daddy’s cancer diagnosis, Maggie and Brick’s loveless marriage, and the other son Gooper’s manipulative desire to gain control of the estate. Instead, they keep ‘passing the buck’—hiding behind social platitudes and vices (like alcohol) so they don’t have to face their individual truths. Everybody is talking, but no one is listening. The richest scene, and probably where the most truth is spoken, is between Big Daddy and Brick where their mutual disdain for having to pull back the curtain on their respective lie really sizzles. The irony of course is that you get the sense they are more alike than different. What’s also interesting to note is that Mike Olsem who plays the chauvinist and bombastic Big Daddy was last seen on the stage as the sweet and lovable Kris Kringle in Avon’s production of Miracle on 34th Street. The fact that Olsem is believable as both characters speaks to his depth as an actor and to the keen eye of the casting director.

Why is it so hard for people to talk about the important things in life? There is no easy answer, but Cat on a Hot Tin Roof does an excellent job of reminding us why it’s important to start a dialogue before it’s too late.

Visit AvonPlayers.org for more information on tickets.

Remaining Performances for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Friday, March 20                  8 p.m.

Saturday, March 21              8 p.m.

Sunday, March 22                2 p.m.

Friday, March 27                  8 p.m.

Saturday, March 28             8 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Sarah Hovis

Word manipulator, arts appreciator, sports spectator, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at sarah@rochestermedia.com.

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