Monday, March 19, 2007

Rose Tattoo (Ensemble Theatre)

Rose fades at Ensemble!

Many theatres like to stretch themselves by selecting plays that challenge their directors, casts and audiences. Unfortunately, in some cases, the choices are unwise as the venue just isn’t up to the task. This is definitely the case with Ensemble and their present production, ‘THE ROSE TATTOO.’

The Tennessee Williams’ play which, as with many of his epics, is set in the South, opened in New York in 1951 to generally favorable reviews.

The plot, which spans a period of three years, tells the story of an Italian American widow in Louisiana who has allowed herself to withdraw from the world after her husband's death.

The script, not considered to be the quality of Williams’ ‘STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE’ or ‘GLASS MENAGERIE,’ continues his theme of women who find themselves in societies that they don’t understand and which don’t understand them. The writing follows the Greek concept of virility, as exemplified by the God Dionysus, who is also the god of worship. Both of these themes are significant threads in the story line.

This is a difficult script to stage. It requires a high level of acting skill and directing knowledge to make it meaningful and truthful.

Ensemble’s production, under the direction of Licia Colombi fails on all levels. The concept is weak, the stage movements chaotic, the acting shallow, the accents inconsistent, the costumes poor (how difficult is it to find a real sailor suit and shoes?), the set poorly conceived, and many of the props unrealistic.

CAPSULE JUDGEMENT: Ensemble has to realize its limits. ‘THE ROSE TATTOO’ is a script well beyond their directing, performance and technical abilities.