James Franco and Laurel Nakadate Collaborate on Tennessee Williams Project at Abrons Arts Center

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08 Nov 2011

James Franco
James Franco

While Broadway audiences may have to wait to see Academy Award nominee James Franco tackle Tennessee Williams, Manhattan's downtown scene will get a glimpse when the actor takes on Three Performances in Search of Tennessee Nov. 13 at the Abrons Arts Center.

The event is presented as part of Performa 11, the non-profit arts organization that showcases innovative approaches in live performance that break down the barriers between theatre, film, music, dance, fashion, poetry and art.

"Milk" and "127 Hours" star Franco, who was previously announced for a now-postponed Broadway revival of Sweet Bird of Youth, is collaborating with photographer-filmmaker Laurel Nakadate on the three-part project, which is loosely based on Williams' The Glass Menagerie.

The artists will first invite a special group of guests to attend a séance at New York's Elysee Hotel, where Williams died in 1983. The aim is to use a ouija board to contact the late playwright and pass on his instructions to an awaiting audience, who will follow the spirit's instructions.

The second part of the project will audition actresses for the role of Laura against a life-size video projection of Franco playing the part of the Gentleman Caller. The auditions will be presented in front of an audience, who will watch the actresses read the lines from a karaoke-style projector.



The final segment will audition male actors for the role of Tom. Both Franco and Nakadate will intervene mid-scene throughout the auditions as "directors," according to project notes.

Paddle8, which co-commissioned the piece, will stream portions of the work online at Paddle8.

The live presentation will take place from 12-3 PM at the Abrons Arts Center. For tickets, priced $30, visit NakadateFranco. The Abrons Arts Center is located within the Henry Street Settlement at 466 Grand Street.