The Oberlin Review
<< Front page Arts February 8, 2008

Play Revisits New Orleans
Tennessee Williams Goes Modern Wiiliams’ play on New Orleans is redefined by Oberlin in a post-Katrina. 

The Theater and Dance department has a new show, Vieux Carre, opening tonight with another performance Saturday in Hall Auditorium. Although this Tennessee Williams play was originally set in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1939, almost 70 years before Hurricane Katrina exposed the cultural complexities of the city, the Oberlin production has been re-adapted to fit within the context of post-Katrina New Orleans, including the addition of a prologue.

On Tuesday, Feb. 5th, the cast and staff distributed Mardi Gras beads in various locations around campus as part of an effort to remind people that New Orleans is still trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina, two-and-a-half years after that disaster. The play is also collecting donations for two Hurricane Katrina relief organizations in New Orleans.

In addition to delving into the heart of the bayou, Vieux Carre is also one of the most biographical of Williams’ later plays.  When he penned it he was experiencing the hardships faced by the marginalized and forgotten people of New Orleans society. The action of the play follows stories of the denizens of the boarding house where Williams lived after he left St. Louis to pursue his literary life, and is a tribute to the eccentric characters who inspired Williams’ distinctive voice.


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