Thursday, May 24, 2012

Arts Fuse Review: Beau Jest's "Ten Blocks on the Camino Real" By Tennessee Williams

My review of Beau Jest Moving Theatre's production of Tennessee Williams long neglected one-act, Ten Blocks on the Camino Real is online on The Arts Fuse. While I caught it at Charlestown Working Theater where it recently closed, it is opening tonight at Lucid Stage in Portland, Maine.

Ten Blocks on the Camino Real is a largely neglected play in Tennessee Williams’s canon, generally regarded as a one-act first draft of the 1953 full-length Sixteen Blocks on the Camino Real and not as a separate play in its own right. First composed in 1946 while traveling through Mexico and workshopped by Elia Kazan at the Actors’ Studio, the expanded and reworked play made its Broadway premiere in 1953. Sixteen Blocks closed after 60 performances and was seen as a financial and artistic failure. Some argue that the play’s experimental approach, which presaged Williams’s later work, alienated audiences whose expectations had been formed by The Glass Menagerie or A Streetcar Named Desire; Elia Kazan would later say that his naturalistic directorial approach was incompatible with the play as written.


Here is Beau Jest artistic director Davis Robinson speaking about the play:


I should also note that Beau Jest posted a very informative dramaturgical blog on the play entitled "30 Days to TEN BLOCKS".

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