Summer and Smoke
Call it the Puritan contribution to our cultural heritage, but the notion that sublime spirituality is locked in an everlasting battle with primal sensuality remains a fundamental belief for many an American. Reflecting that history, playwrights have long questioned the allegedly opposed urges of the body and soul. Foremost among such artists was Tennessee Williams, whose work still smolders with repressed desire. A gay man who knew plenty about stifled yearnings, Williams brought personal insight to his work, portraying characters victimized by their own attraction. Exemplifying this theme, Summer and Smoke positions its two would-be lovers at a passionate impasse. She is the unmarried daughter of a minister, unwilling to forsake her virtuous modesty for momentary bliss. He is an impulsive young man more concerned with gratifying his libido than saving his soul. Together the two characters create a tempestuous charge that renders high-minded philosophy useless in its wake. Though Williams thought the work too broadly drawn (so much so that, 15 years later, he debuted a significantly revised version entitled The Eccentricities of a Nightingale), Summer and Smoke retains a cultural urgency sure to be underscored by a new production from Theatre in the Round Players. With efforts underway to codify moral dictates into law, the relevancy of Summer and Smoke certainly hasn't lost any of its topical fire. (Image copyright Act One Too Ltd.)
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Oct. 12. Continues through Nov. 4, 2012
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