Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
By Tennessee Williams
Directed by Mathilde Berry
It is a hot sticky summer in the Mississippi Delta. The wealthy Pollitt family has gathered to celebrate patriarch Big Daddy’s 65th birthday. But below the surface, turbulent emotions are brewing. What Big Daddy and Big Mama don’t yet know is that this will be Big Daddy’s last birthday – he is dying of cancer. Their eldest son, Gooper, and his wife, Mae, are scheming to get younger son, Brick, cut out of the inheritance. Brick, an ex-footballer, has taken to drink since the death of his best friend, Skipper. Brick is estranged from his beautiful wife, Maggie, who is fighting tooth and nail to win back his love. A layer of mendacity – of lies – has built up over the family’s disappointments and insecurities. Who is going to be bold enough to start telling the truth now? Is there still enough love left to save?
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof premiered in New York under the direction of Elia Kazan, who revised the third act to give the play a more redemptive resolution. In 1958, director Richard Brooks adapted Cat into a hugely popular film starring a stunning Elizabeth Taylor, an improbably handsome Paul Newman, and corpulent Burl Ives. To Williams's dismay, Brooks excised all explicit references to Brick's homosexuality in deference to the studio censors. The Hamburg Players performed the original script by Tennessee Williams for this production.