(Provincetown, MA) The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival is pleased to announce that its Annual Dinner will return on Saturday, June 1, 2019.
The gala will be held at Town Hall in Provincetown to support the organization’s 14th annual Festival, which will run from September 22-29, 2019. Festival passes are now on sale at twptown.org.
The 2019 Festival program promises unconventional theater from America and Japan. The program will feature plays by Tennessee Williams and the provocative Japanese author Yukio Mishima.
Festival Curator David Kaplan says that confessions, pain, and ghosts are some of the strongest connections between Williams and Mishima. Born a world apart, Williams and Mishima became good friends in the late 1950s. Williams willingly fell under Japanese influence for over a decade, up until 1970, the year Mishima died.
"Does fear have an aesthetic?” asks Kaplan. “Mishima and Williams make plays out of fear. Does evil have some attraction, some beauty, especially the beauty that has the potential to annihilate us?"
Festival artists and collaborators from around the world will produce and perform in this year’s line-up of plays, in venues throughout the seaside village of Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod. The 2019 Festival program will be announced in full at the Annual Dinner on June 1.
Guests of honor at past dinners have included award-winning stage and film actors Amanda Plummer (2018), Dana Delany (2017), Brian Dennehy (2016), Cherry Jones (2015), Zachary Quinto (2014), and Elizabeth Ashley (2013).
Further details about the Annual Dinner will be announced soon, at which point premium seats, general admission tickets, and table sponsorships will be available online and by phone at twptown.org or by calling 866-789-TENN.
In Japan, Yukio Mishima achieved a level of celebrity comparable to that of Williams in America. He wrote sixty-two plays, as well as thirty-four novels and twenty-five books of short stories.
The 2019 Festival will present pairings of plays by Williams and Mishima in different styles. Planning for this year goes back to 2014, when the Festival presented plays by Williams alongside plays by four of his friends and peers: William Inge, Jane Bowles, Carson McCullers, and Yukio Mishima.
“In that 2014 lineup, Mishima’s work was, surprisingly, the crowd-pleaser,” says Kaplan. “In our production from South Africa of Mishima’s eerie play The Lady Aoi, a seaside vacation that seemed scary when you read about it turned sexy in performance.”
Mishima’s wide-ranging works include traditional Kabuki written in verse, modern realistic plays, parodies, satires, and propaganda plays, says Kaplan. “He wrote a campy three-act play that resembles 1950s/early ’60s film noir, which meant balancing horror and humor with suspense. He took austere traditional Noh plays and modernized them enough to take place on a park bench or in a hospital room.”
In 1957 and 1958, just as he met Mishima, Williams entered what might be called a Japanese phase. Japanese theater forms turn up overtly in The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, Suddenly Last Summer, The Night of the Iguana, And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens, Will Mr. Merriwether Return from Memphis?, and The Day on Which a Man Dies. This period of Japanese influence ran for a dozen years, up to 1970, the year Mishima died.
The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival was founded in 2006 in Provincetown — the birthplace of modern American theater — where Williams worked on many of his major plays during the 1940s. The TW Festival is the nation’s largest performing arts festival dedicated to celebrating and expanding an understanding of the full breadth of the work of America’s great playwright. To date, the Festival has produced 12 world premieres of Williams plays, including several previously unpublished works. Each year, theater artists from around the globe perform classic and innovative productions to celebrate Williams’ enduring influence in the 21st century, hosted by venues throughout the seaside village. For more details, visit twptown.org and follow the Festival on Facebook.
This Festival is funded in part by the Provincetown Tourism Fund, and is presented by The Pilgrim House.