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March 4th, 2012 · 1 Comment

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS’ THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA COMES TO HART HOUSE

Hart House Theatre will warm up this March with the American classic, The Night of the Iguana. Rasheed Clarke/Gleaner News.

By Rasheed Clarke

When winter’s frigid fingers are desperately clinging onto you this March, Hart House Theatre (7 Hart House Circle) will offer up an escape down to Mexico; the sweaty setting for Tennessee Williams’ play The Night of the Iguana.

The performance will mark the final show of Hart House Theatre’s 2011/2012 schedule.

The story follows Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon, a disgraced minister who works as a tour guide in Mexico after being expelled from his American church. As the Reverend struggles with his broken faith, he leads a group of female tourists through Mexico and begins a romantic relationship with a young girl in the tour group, Charlotte Goodall.

Shannon brings the group to a hotel run by his friend Maxine Faulk, who lusts after the Reverend. Add one more woman into the mix, the spinster Hannah Jelkes, and you get a complex tale of interwoven relationships between seemingly unrelated people who work towards accepting their lives, as flawed as they may be, and moving on.

Director Jeremy Hutton has been charged with the responsibility of bringing Williams’ play to the stage. He is also in his second year as Hart House Theatre’s artistic director. Hutton says the time was right to perform The Night of the Iguana.

“We almost always do a Shakespeare, we almost always do a musical, and then the other shows in the season are left freer in terms of all the different things we can do with it. We had never done an American classic that wasn’t a musical, so it just seemed like a good time to tackle some Tennessee Williams.”

As director of Iguana, Hutton says that his job is not to exhibit any particular thematic angle, but to ensure that the play’s distinctive characters stand out for the audience.

“It’s a character piece, not a director piece. There are no huge interpretations or spins that a director can put on it. You have these really deeply damaged people who are on the precipice of their lives, they’re all ready to crack, but there’s a potential that these characters can attain something real, that they can get past the issues and damages that they have. Maybe not find something perfect, but something acceptable.”

The production enlists some top talent, with David Ferry taking on the role of Reverend Shannon. Ferry won the 2011 Barbara Hamilton Award for excellence in the performing arts, and has featured in Richard III and Titus Andronicus at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

Starring alongside Ferry will be Allegra Fulton, who plays Maxine Faulk. Her long list of credits includes performances at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Tarragon Theatre, SoulPepper Theatre, and the Canadian Stage Company.

Andrea Wasserman, marketing coordinator at Hart House Theatre, says that the show’s added star power will likely bring in a diverse crowd.

“With the inclusion of David Ferry and Allegra Fulton we’re going to get a lot of folks coming from the theatre community at large, as well as general playgoers.”

“One of the great things of this particular production,” adds Wasserman, “is that a lot of the folks who study English or Theatre will have looked at this play or at least the plays of Tennessee Williams, and that will attract a student audience absolutely.”

The Night of the Iguana is on stage from Mar. 2 to 10 at Hart House Theatre. For tickets and showtimes, visit www.harthouse.ca/hart-house-theatre.

Tags: Annex · Arts · General

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Jodelle // Apr 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    As an English student, I feel guilty for not having seen it; I was supposed to be the target audience, after all. I would have loved to watch an American classic and taken a break from winter’s frigid fingers. Too bad I missed it. Nevertheless, great article!