USC Lab Theatre presents Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo
November 15-18, 2012
COLUMBIA, SC - Tennessee Williams’ Tony® Award-winning masterpiece, The Rose Tattoo, will be presented in the University of SC Lab Theatre, November 15-18, 2012.
Show times for the production are 8pm nightly. Tickets are $5 and available on a first-come, first-served basis at the theatre each evening. The Lab Theatre, the university’s intimate “black box” performance space, is located at 1400 Wheat Street, across from Blatt P.E. Center.
Ripe with Williams’ penchant for delicious melodrama and his signature gift with language, The Rose Tattoo weaves the tale of Serafina Delle Rose, a Sicilian seamstress living in the American South, who has withdrawn from society after the tragic death of her husband. When a stranger with an odd resemblance to her husband arrives, she takes an emotional journey that promises to bring her out of despair and back to life and love.
As directed by Rocco Thompson, a senior theatre major, the production will present Williams’ masterful work through the influential lens of another icon of dramatic storytelling, filmmaker Federico Fellini.
“My love for the films of Federico Fellini is almost as voracious as my love for Tennessee Williams,” Thompson says. “After reading this play, I started to see connections between many of Fellini's heroines -- in films such as Nights of Cabiria, Amarcord, 8 ½ -- and Serafina. The surreal, sensual, and allegorical elements of the play seemed to be taken straight out of a mid-sixties Fellini film. My thought was, ‘What would The Rose Tattoo be like if it were directed by Fellini?’ And that has been the through-line for my creative process thus far.”
Thompson says he also finds significant contemporary relevance in the play, as well as insight into Williams’ life.
“In my opinion, The Rose Tattoo is the only play in which Tennessee Williams forgives himself,” he explains. “His writing was often autobiographical and his suffering heroines consistently mirrored his neuroses and thoughts and almost always came to bad ends. This play, however, is different. Written at the height of his infatuation with the love of his life, Williams seems to be saying to the world, "This is what I am; I won't apologize for not fitting into your little box.’”
He continues, “Through Serafina, Williams explores his feelings of not meshing with a society that consistently tries to clip his wings while still allowing for a happy ending. In a time where people are questioning the nature and purpose of Christianity and issues of homosexuality, I think The Rose Tattoo has a lot to say about doing what you feel is right for you in your heart regardless of the status quo.”
Thompson, who has appeared in numerous university productions (including the recent staging of The Importance of Being Earnest), refers to directing as his “true calling.” He has directed two shows previously at the university’s Benson Theatre, and, this summer was part of a directing assistantship program at the Berkshire Theatre Group in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. That experience actually provided Thompson with a coincidental connection to the long history of Williams’ play. While at BTG, he directed a staged reading of the play Understanding Artichokes, written by and starring Maria Tucci, whose performance in the 1966 Broadway production of The Rose Tattoo earned her a Tony® nomination.
A cast of fourteen gifted undergraduate actors will bring Thompson’s vision to life on stage. The cast includes seniors Danielle Peterson as Serafina Delle Rose, Emily Gonzalez as Serafina’s daughter, Rosa, and William Vaughan as the mysterious stranger, Alvaro. Also cast are Elizabeth Houck, Katie Atkinson, Adrianne Woods, Kamille Hayes, Claire Kuhlkin, Matt LaBorde, Brien Hollingsworth, Elizabeth Coffin, Jamie Boller, Grace Ann Roberts and Liam MacDougall. Graduate costume design student Sean Smith hopes to capture the rich romantic essence of the world of the play. Undergraduate theatre major Curtis Smoak will create the show’s lighting design.
For more information on The Rose Tattoo, the Lab Theatre or the productions of the theatre program at the University of SC, please contact Kevin Bush by phone at (803) 777-9353 or by email at email@example.com.