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A CurtainUp Review
Small Craft Warnings
A Most Welcome Second Revival
By Elyse Sommer
or a review of the 1999 production go here
Until the worthy Worth Street Theater Company revived Tennesse Williams expanded one-act, Small Craft Warnings last summer it hadn't been seen in New York since its original production in 1972. Now director Jeff Cohen has brought this haunting work back for an open run -- same place, same evocative staging and, for the most part, same cast. Since Les Gutman already reviewed the 1999 production, I will skip the plot details and overall analysis.
The few cast replacements fit in beautifully with the happily reassembled original cast members -- Jim Hazard as Doc, Michael MacCauley as Bill McCorkle and Gerald Anthony, who starred in the company's innovative adaptation of Uncle Vanya (Uncle Jack), as Steve. Christine McMurdo-Wallis repeats her bravura role as Leona, the beautician who lives in a trailer and whose memories of her beloved dead brother are the play's leitmotif. While Small Craft Warnings may be one of Williams' minor works, Leona is right up there with some of his more memorable female characters and Ms. McMurdo-Wallis plays her with breathtaking force.
The monologues given to all eight of the play's characters may not make this "Craft" Williams' sturdiest dramatic vehicle, but I didn't find them as disruptive as Les did. Under Cohen's direction, and abetted by Jon Kusner's sensitive lighting, the freeze-framing of the actors is in fact very effective and reminded me of some scenes in last year's revival of The Iceman Cometh.
Consumer Note: The Tribeca Playhouse is now air conditioned. It's an intimate venue in which even the lowest priced ticket ($15) puts you in a seat that's the equivalent of the best orchestra locations in a Broadway house. And for pre or post dining or snacking, the neighborhood is awash with restaurants.
Be sure to check out our Tennesse Williams page from our -- Author's Album.