IMMERSIVE/site-specific theatre tends to take place in spaces with rudimentary seating, but now we will be treated to site-specific theatre presented in hotel suites at the luxurious Vineyard Hotel in Newlands. It is the ultimate theatre-dining-accommodation experience.
Next Saturday at 7pm and on August 4, 5, 13, 19 and 20, a double bill of two hotel plays by Tennessee Williams will be staged, accompanied by a three-course dinner and wine pairing between the shows. The plays are Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen and Green Eyes.
Hotel rooms figured significantly in Williams’ work. He spent much of his life in hotel rooms and he died in a hotel room. At the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer staged Williams’ The Day on Which A Man Dies, set in two interleading hotel rooms.
“I hope this superb production will also be staged in Cape Town. In the meantime, we have the hotel plays at the Vineyard. Direction is by Abrahamse, and Meyer is performing in one of the plays and is responsible for design.
Williams wrote more than a dozen short plays (about 20 minutes each) set in hotel rooms – from plush to boarding houses.
“There’s usually a bed in the room and someone is usually in it or on it,” explained David Kaplan, the American director who directed Man Dies at the festival.
Kaplan runs the prestigious annual Tennessee Williams festival in Provincetown, where Man Dies premiered last year. “Theatre makers have been selecting two to three of these short plays and presenting them in hotel rooms around the world. It’s voyeurism on steroids.”
Meyer mused: “This is exactly what makes this staging of these so unique and special because you will never be able to experience these plays as up close and personal as you will by seeing them in this staging. In terms of design, we are very lucky to have these wonderful historic rooms in the Vineyard Hotel as our setting.
“There is an element of set dressing but the architecture and major furniture pieces in the room will form the basis of the set.
“The Vineyard was built as the country estate of Lady Anne Barnard in 1799, has been a hotel from the 1890s and has played host to such literary giants as Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling. So we couldn’t hope to for a more perfect venue and partner on this very special venture.”
Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen star Meyer and Nicole Franco as despairing lovers, bat-
Stephen Jubber and Melissa Haiden in Vineyard Hotel from next weekend. on the double bill in by Tennessee Williams at the