Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Albuquerque Little Theatre

Classic works make for unique challenges for actors, especially when so many before have brought their interpretation to long standing roles such as Tennessee Williams' characters in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Tackling this challenge, local actors Kate Costello and Peter Diseth are currently navigating their own course as the iconic couple Brick and Maggie Pollitt over at Albuquerque Little Theatre, playing until April 28th.

Photo credit Billy Nguyen
Spying, lying and deceit are constant themes throughout the play, and watching how each of the characters choose to  manipulate each other by what they reveal, and what they conceal, keeps the 1955 setting relevant to today's audience. Maggie carries the majority of the first act, a daunting challenge that Kate effectively meets, while Peter, as Brick, must remain relevant to the scene, and to Maggie, often without saying a word.

When supported by strong actors in the roles of Big Daddy (Tom Pentecost) and Big Mama (Carolyn Hogan), the directions of the play range from sinisterly comic to darkly dramatic. Brick's cry for his crutch as he lunges for the bottle, and glimpses of Big Daddy's own abusive behaviors when alone with Big Mama shade the work darkly, allowing the actors to successfully push the storytelling beyond the script itself. Big Mama's desperation to make things alright easily becomes a pathetic attempt to thwart Big Daddy's rages, and Maggie's desperation to connect with Brick, who withdraws from her every attempt, only reveals and exacerbates her own insecurities. In true Southern style, it takes strangers to deliver the distasteful truths, to reveal the lies and to bring forth the issues that the family can't bring themselves to discuss, despite what they already know.

Photo credit Billy Nguyen

Directed by Denise Schulz, the show builds to the end, with exquisite lighting design by Ryan Jason Cook which is especially noteworthy, a moonlit backdrop which turns from a balmy, Southern night to a dark and stormy Summer squall.

The show runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday until April 28th, as well as a Thursday performance on April 25th. For tickets and info online, visit or call 505-242-4750. 

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