Conversations with Tennessee
The Dark Room
May 11, 2019
Four panels address aspects of the author’s life and work. Each will begin with a brief performance of material from Tennessee Williams’s letters, journals, or other writing, followed by a discussion between artists and scholars.
The Dark Room will be open for brunch at 10:00AM
All Panel Discussions are moderated by Thomas Mitchell
9:00AM: Progressive Politics in Williams’ St. Louis
Gregory S. Carr and Melissa Wolfe
Williams came of age in the politically, socially, and racially radical 1930s. What can be learned from understanding the artists, writers, and activists who were centered at Franklin and Grand 80 years ago?
10:00AM: Tennessee in Mexico: The Playwright as Tourist
David Kaplan, Tim Ocel, Nisi Sturgis, and Michael Wilson
From the early years of his career, Williams traveled to Mexico as a retreat from the pressures of his professional life. What does his writing tell us about the influence of Mexican culture in work like The Night of the Iguana?
11:00AM: Why Tennessee? Why Now?
Sophia Brown, David Kaplan, Joan Lipkin, and Michael Wilson
Tennessee Williams lived in St. Louis 85 years ago. Why do productions of his work continue? How do audiences experience the plays today? A group of artistic leaders discuss how and why Williams merits a festival in the city he once called home.
3:00PM: An Open Discussion on Respect and Representation
Gregory S. Carr, Rayme Cornel, Jesse Munoz, Carl Overly, and Jennifer Wintzer
At a time when society has become extremely divided and distrustful, issues of representation are demanding the attention of theatre producers. How can we be respectful of cultural differences and also explore aspects of human experience that transcend them? Williams situated Night of the Iguana in 1940s Mexico where displaced Americans, Baptist schoolteachers, and Nazis crowd out native youths. Can we get to the truths Williams was after amidst the cultural collision?
The Dark Room
3610 Grandel Square
St. Louis, MO 63103