Co-directors Mical Whitaker and Melinda Roell will bring Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" to the Emma Kelly Theater this weekend. Shows are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
"I've been able to direct 'The Glass Menagerie' and 'Stairs to the Roof,' but 'Cat' is one of my favorite Tennessee Williams plays," Whitaker said. "I'm at a point in my career, and in my life, where I have the opportunity to do the projects that I want to do, and this is one I can cross off my bucket list."
Brimming with emotional intensity, this powerful family drama sees Maggie the "Cat" and her husband, Brick, return to his childhood home on the night of Big Daddy's 65th birthday. Throughout the night, accusations of greed, homophobia, dishonesty and sexual desire — long repressed — are revealed. As life-altering secrets are exposed, tensions erupt, and the Pollitt family scrambles to secure their parts of Big Daddy's inheritance.
Although the play is considered one of Williams' more controversial plays, Whitaker believes Statesboro is ready to explore issues that may make them uncomfortable. People are reminded that the play deals with adult themes and language.
"I wouldn't have done it in 1981," he said. "I don't think people could have handled it back then because of the mature themes hiding beneath the surface of the dialogue. The issues are never fully explained, but that is also part of the play's mystique and genius. I really want to push people to get past what makes them uncomfortable so we can get over those obstacles and move on to the next important issue."
The play is packed with local all-star performers including "Driving Miss Daisy" co-stars Alan Tyson, playing Big Daddy, and Carol Thompson as Big Momma. Georgia Southern theater student Kathryn Burrell portrays Maggie, and recent GS graduate James Brooks is Maggie's alcoholic husband, Brick.
Lies, deception, false loyalty and greed play characters as large as Big Daddy himself in one of Williams' most enduring dramas.
"Despite the controversies, this is a Southern play, and the South needs to take more pride in that," Whitaker said. "You really can't get more Southern than this!"
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for youth (with a student ID). To reserve your seats, visit the Averitt Center box office Tuesday–Friday from noon to 5:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling (912) 212-2787 or by visiting averittcenterforthearts.org.