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November 24, 2011

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS 'PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT' IS HAUNTING








Patrick Alparone fights with wife as Johnny Moreno looks on. Photo: Jessica Palopoli















TENNESSE WILLIAMS ‘PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT’ – SEXUAL CONTRADICTIONS

Ralph and George are buddies from the Korean War. Ralph is married to Dorothea and their marriage is beginning to “Shake” – just as the walls of the ‘sweet’ little house do. You see -- the house is built on an Earthquake fault.  How they did it – I don’t know – but the house actually shakes now and then and the cracks in the wall get larger. Scary stuff.

After so many years together Ralph and Dorothea have just about had it with the marriage. She has left him and he is left with the Christmas presents around the tree. What Dorothea didn’t know about was the gorgeous sheared Beaver Coat that was waiting for her under the tree. Would that change a women’s mind? You bet it would, and did.

Ralph’s buddy – George just got married to a high-flying blonde. They have been married to Dorothea for almost 24 hours. Long enough for the marriage to start falling apart. And it does. Ralph has the shakes from his war years. He can’t seem to stop trembling. That annoys Dorothea, a ditzy blonde who wonders how she is going to get out of this mess.

This Tennessee Williams play started out with a much larger cast. Bill English, Director -- has pared it down to six characters. It is billed as a ‘Comedy’ – I would say that it is comedy light. Amusing? Yes it is – but roll out of your seats comedy it’s not. Like the Playwright Williams – this is more of a ‘tragic comedy’ – that delves into personal sexual lives. A Hollywood Columnist wanted to know why Williams was always “plunging into the sewers.” I don’t think that this play does that – but back in the 60’s that might have shocked some audiences – with the sexual hanky panky – now days, that’s no more than a spoon full of honey. Yum, Yum – I love honey. The play is full of ‘gems’ like – “The World is a big hospital and I’m nursing it.” Here is another about sexual attempts: - “It was like kissing a rock pile” – referring to lips that did not want to be kissed.  And this one made me laugh: “I quit my Job and my wife quit me!”

Tennessee was a flustered man himself – it’s not wonder that he wrote entirely crazy plays that brought up anger, frustrating sexuality and downright meanness. But breaking up a marriage is hard to do – and sometimes even harder to get it back together.

 MASTERFUL DIRECTING IS BY BILL ENGLISH

NINA BALL HAS COME UP WITH A 'DAMN GOOD SET!' 

THEY CALL IT FEATURING: -- I CALL THEM STARS THAT ARE IRRESITABLE FROM START TO FINISH: Patrick Alparone, Jean Forsman, Joe Madero, Maggie Mason, Johnny Moreno and Mackenzie Meehan. All are delectably amusing and irresistibly addictive. Every one of them -- “Simply Brilliant!”

NOW PLAYING AT SF PLAYHOUSE ON SUTTER STREET (near Powell)

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked- 

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Datebook and he also produced and hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED))) 
FOLLOW LEE: Famereporter @ Twitter 

Lee Hartgrave @ Facebook 










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