Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

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-

Green Eyes, The Ho­tel Plays

Stephen Jub­ber and Melissa Haiden in Vine­yard Ho­tel from next week­end. on the dou­ble bill in by Ten­nessee Williams at the

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