The Day on Which a Man Dies
Presented in association with the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival and the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown.
Direction & Design: David Kaplan
Cast: Marcel Meyer, Jennifer Steyn, Daniel Richards, Nicholas Dallas [Provincetown], Matthew Baldwin [Grahamstown]
Photography: Ride Hamilton & Meegan Moore, CUEPIX
Venue/s: Provincetown Theatre [September 2015], Great Hall, National Arts Festival [ July 2016]
About: An epic lover’s quarrel roars between adjoining hotel rooms in 1959 Tokyo. The Man, an acclaimed painter now mocked for his new technique of applying paint with spray-guns, confronts The Woman, his sharp-tongued companion of 11 years. She has lost faith in him and his work. They argue violently, make up, make love, and betray each other.
Written by Tennessee Williams at the height of his public acclaim, the play was kept by the author in reserve, filed and then forgotten in a Los Angeles library. THE DAY ON WHICH A MAN DIES powerfully blends Japanese Gutai Performance Art with some of Williams’ most beautiful lyric writing in a play Williams subtitled “An Occidental Noh Play.”
Williams dedicated the play to Yukio Mishima. Mishima’s “modern Noh plays” lent Williams a dramatic form with which to embody wilful self-destruction. A wry Mishima stand-in, a role called The Oriental, reflects on sex as power while explaining how Japanese and Western suicides differ.
The text was rediscovered in 1991 and received its world premiere in 2008 in this production directed & designed by David Kaplan. In September 2015 this production was presented by Abrahamse & Meyer Productions in repertory with THE MILK TRAIN DOESN’T STOP HERE ANYMORE as part of 10th Anniversary Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival and had its South African premiere at the 2016 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.
What the Press Said:
“I was blown away by this production…Master class in directing by David Kaplan…A must see. It's a mediation on life, death - the meaning of it all - love, art, creativity, honour, destiny…an intensely visceral piece of theatre. The writing by Tennessee Williams is superb. The performances by Jennifer Steyn, Marcel Meyer and Daniel Richards are pitch perfect. American David Kaplan's direction demarcates the spaces between the characters and narrative in a way which is breath-taking...It's thrilling.” – Robyn Cohen CHIRP OF THE MOMENT
“A meditation on the life and death of Jackson Pollack, and what happens when the artistic spirit and motivation dies, this is another first-rate, beautifully acted, visually stunning production of a play that was unknown to me before stepping into the theater. Jennifer Steyn is unrecognizable from Milk Train and Meyer captures the artist’s agony. Williams depicts the conflict between devotion to personal life and devotion to one’s art; and then what happens when there are no more ideas. When there is nothing more to give, or to say.” ONE Magazine USA
“Abrahamse & Meyer Productions, returned for the fourth time from the African continent with four fine actors…a painter, perhaps Jackson Pollock, realizing that he has reached the end of his creative rope, commits suicide by swallowing Lysol during a frenzied and alcoholic mania. Pushed toward his death by his controlling lover, who demands a financially secure position in life…Steyn’s performance here is strong, measured and cold-hearted, whereas the artist’s role [Meyer] starts on a high pitch, frantically spray painting a canvas and continually boozing His nearly naked body is also painted and finally his actions reach a verbal and emotional ceiling, before he picks up the Lysol bottle and collapse dying.” BERSHIRE FINE ARTS USA
“Upsetting and poignant” DIE BURGER
“the Artist and the Woman are meaty roles…the Artist covered in paint -chiefly suggesting blood – eventually smashes a whiskey bottle, grinding his foot into the broken glass. It’s brilliantly done: the audience winces…I enjoyed watching David Kaplan’s production and his exciting design” CUE