Sins of the father confronted as Gaslight Baker Theatre hosts iconic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof



Big Daddy Pollitt celebrates his 65th birthday in his plantation house, though ‘celebration’ might not exactly fit the mood of the day, in Gaslight Baker Theatre’s production of the Tennessee Williams classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof April 26-May 11.

Greed, malevolence and the unwieldy search for hope threaten to dampen the occasion in the show directed by GBT’s Artistic Director, Eric Beck. As the knowledge of Big Daddy’s impending death slowly makes the rounds, the family’s past, present, and future collide in an explosive ending.

“Our production is emphasizing the ghosts that haunt this family,” says Beck. “The previous owners of the plantation lived in the room where the show takes place, and their presence is felt throughout, as are the specters of a dead friend and the field hands that built the wealth that drives the plantation. Our show is filled with offstage voices and noises because we want to show that the past is always with these characters.”

Big Daddy’s somber news contrasts with the news that his daughter-in-law Margaret (aka Maggie the Cat) is pregnant with the child of his favorite son, Brick. Problem is she’s not really pregnant, and Brick wants nothing to do with Maggie’s plan to make her lie true. He chooses instead to stay permanently in an alcoholic haze and mourn the death of his best friend, who may have been more than a friend.

Maggie’s new state comes not without incentive: she wants to make amends to Brick for an error in judgment that nearly ended the marriage, but there is something even more urgent.

“Maggie’s dilemma is that her future may depend on conceiving a child by a man who doesn’t want anything to do with her, especially sexually,” says Beck. “I think audiences will be fascinated by how she navigates this.”

Swarming around Maggie and Brick are their intrusive, conniving relatives, all eager to see Maggie put in her place and Brick fall from his status as most-beloved son.

By evening’s end, Maggie has exerted her ingenuity, fortitude and passion to set things right.

But will it be enough? Will she stop Brick’s walk along the path of destruction he’s on? Will he return to Maggie’s loving arms?

“We decided not to make our production a period piece. It’s set in an unspecified time, like people do with Shakespeare, because Williams has created a timeless piece that beautifully captures the predicaments, desires, and passions that animate our lives today. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is forever and for everyone.”


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