Posted at 12:17 PM on June 12, 2009
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Theater
How is it that one of America's greatest playwrights of the 20th century has a play out there that's never before been staged? That's what I was wondering when I called Peter Hansen at Gremlin Theatre, with a more than slightly skeptical tone in my voice.
It turns out there are a lot of works by Tennessee Williams that have never been performed, and many of them never will. Williams wrote the way some artists sketch - profusely, with many rough drafts. A lot of what remains (he gave his collected writings to Sewanee, University of the South) is either plain bad or unfinished.
But there was at least one little gem among them. It's a short (35 minutes!) play, which is one of the main reasons it never got staged. According to Hansen it's believed to be an early version of "Sweet Bird of Youth," but a lot changed between the two versions.
So how do you get people to come see a 35 minute show? Hansen says Gremlin Theatre is treating the June run as a sort of "summer social." People can come and play croquet or toss bean bags in the theater before the show while enjoying a drink and some food, and then they're invited to hang out with the actors and crew afterward at a restaurant around the corner.
Photo by Carl Schoenborn
The fate of the Hamline-Midway Library is on the chopping block due to city budget cuts. While the library will remain open through the end of the year, a task force is looking at what options it has after that. It could have sharply reduced hours, become the responsibility of some organization other than the City of St. Paul, or it could close entirely. The community rallying cry inspired me to pay a visit and find out more about the library's history, and just how it got started. The story is one of community activism and teamwork over a period of more than twenty years. Take a look and see for yourself. (Full disclosure: I'm a resident of the Hamline-Midway neighborhood)
Music performed by Mike Pohlad(1 Comments)