Vieux Carré

by Tennessee Williams

"The play is memory . . . the thirties, when the huge middle class of America was matriculating in a school for the blind. Their eyes had failed them, or they had failed their eyes, and so they were having their fingers pressed forcibly down on the fiery Braille alphabet of a dissolving economy." - Tom Wingfield, "The Glass Menagerie"

The words of Tom Wingfield could easily have been spoken by the Writer, narrator and lead character of Tennessee Williams' later, more experimental and less renowned "Vieux Carre" (1978).

 


Michael Black, Melissa Roberts, and Ethan Savaglio, Photo by David Perez
The writer, a voyeur, silently captures the twisted moments of Jane and Tye's digressing affair.

Imagine the Great Depression in New Orleans, a place of world- renowned celebration in a time when going to bed at night was a celebration of having merely made it through another day. Now picture a single room in a dilapidated boarding house of the French Quarter, where rickety crackling footsteps sag into the scratched and stained wood floor. Two deluded bag ladies wail and coo the downfall of their societal positions, while a "true" Southern gent shouts through wheezing coughs at the travesty of his being accused.

 



Michael Black and Brandan Whitehead, Photo by David Perez
Nightingale listens as the Writer pauses for a moment in relating his experience with the paratrooper.

Finally the mindless dribbling of small talk is drowned out by the deranged orders of a frail old lady on the brink of sanity having just poured boiling water into a hole in the floor searing the neighbors below.

 



Susan Segalla and Michael Black, Photo by David Perez
Seeing the Writer as her son, Mrs. Wire pleads with him not to leave her boarding house.

Now picture a woman cruising through this scene, humming effortlessly to the tune of "In the Garden".

 



Susan and Diana Wells Segalla, Photo by David Perez
Senile and tattered Mrs. Wire rests in the arms of Nursie, her house maid and friend.

Like many of his plays, the explosive contrast of humor and beauty with pain and anger characterize the poetic song that is "Vieux Carre".

 




Melissa Roberts and Ethan Savaglio, Photo by David Perez
Jane enjoys Tye's seemingly life giving touch for one of the last times.

 

Expectations of plot will remain unfulfilled by the romantic imagery of Williams' "Vieux Carre". The play translates visually more like a collection of tattered portraits painted from memory than a fluid motion picture.

 



Brandon Whitehead, Photo by David Perez
Nightingale peeks around the Writers shoulder.

Like Picasso's violent and emotive Guernica of the same period, Williams "Vieux Carre" experiments with form and structure to paint a portrait of intense emotional conflict in a dark and vacuous time. The characters of Vieux Carre struggle desperately in the dimness of economic and emotional disadvantage, lit only by the faintness of their hope.

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This website is the legacy left behind from more than a decade of work done by Krying Sky Productions (KSP), an arts studio which was founded on the principles set in motion by these pillars of the arts industry. During it's lifetime, KSP launched a series of projects including live, touring, and studio productions of the following:

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