Tennessee Williams' Kingdom of Earth, With Philippe Bowgen, Ryah Nixon, Clayton Fox, Opens Feb. 15 at NC's Triad
By Michael Gioia
Kingdom of Earth, a rarely produced play by Tennessee Williams described as "a Southern Gothic," is presented at Triad Stage, officially opening Feb. 15, following previews that began Feb. 10, in downtown Greensboro, NC.
Directed by Triad Stage artistic director Preston Lane, the limited engagement, presented by Priscilla McCall, continues through March 3 at The Pyrle Theater.
The cast includes Philippe Bowgen (Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 at 59E59) as Chicken; Clayton Fox (Reefer Madness: The Musical) as Chicken's half brother, Lot; and Ryah Nixon (9 to 5 national tour) as Lot's new wife, Myrtle.
Kingdom of Earth marks the fifth time Triad Stage has produced a work by Williams. "He is a key playwright for Triad Stage," said Triad artistic director Lane in an earlier statement. "I am thrilled to share with our audiences this neglected wonder. Rejected in its time, I believe it deserves to be revisited as a way to shake off the hazy nostalgia that critics are desperate to attach to Tennessee Williams' world view."
Here's how the work is billed: "1960. A storm rages through a Mississippi night. The levee is about to break. Everyone has fled to high ground. But in a broken down farm house soon to be underwater, two half brothers from two very different mothers and a new bride just arrived from Memphis battle for control. As the water rises, tempers flare and taboos are broken. Tennessee Williams' neglected classic pits black against white, man against woman and everyone against the power of the Mississippi."
Other members of the creative team include scenic designer Anya Klepikov, costume designer Bill Brewer, lighting designer Jesse Belsky, sound designer Phillip Owen, dramaturg Bryan Conger, resident vocal coach Christine Morris, resident movement coach Denise Gabriel and stage manager Emily J. Mails.
A sign-interpreted performance will be offered Feb. 26 at 7:30 PM; The InSight Series, the free humanities program with a noted expert who will be discussing the world of the play, will be held Feb. 17 immediately following the 2 PM matinee performance (for Kingdom of Earth, Thomas Keith, who is the consulting editor for New Directions Publishing, will be speaking); and PostScript, an open discussion with the cast, will be held Feb. 21 in The UpStage Cabaret immediately following the 7:30 PM performance.
In late 2012, Triad surpassed a fundraising goal and was able to retire a debt that had accumulated as the result of the 2008 recession and the forced relocation of its production facility.
The Triad Stage at The Pyrle Theater is located at 232 South Elm Street (between Market and Washington Streets) in downtown Greensboro, NC. For more information and tickets, call (336) 272-0160 or visit TriadStage.org.
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