Sweet Bird of Youth

Presented in association with the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival

Playwright: Tennessee Williams

Direction & Set Design: Fred Abrahamse

Costume Design: Marcel Meyer

Lighting Design: Fred Abrahamse [Provincetown], Faheem Bardien [Artscape]

Soundscape: Marcel Meyer and Mother City Records

Photography: Ride Hamilton, Fiona MacPherson & Pat Bromilow-Downing

Cast: Fiona Ramsay, Marcel Meyer, Michael Richard, Matthew Baldwin, Dean Balie, Jeremy Richard, Callum Tilbury [Provincetown], Tristan de Beer [Artscape]

Venues: The Wharf, Provincetown Marina [September 2017], Artscape Theatre [2018]

About: Commissioned to play in repertory with Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the 2017 Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival, this bold interpretation re-imagined Williams’ 1959 classic text in a startling new production that played to sold-out houses and standing ovations at every performance. In 2018 the production premiered on the main stage at the Artscape Theatre.

What the Press said:

“one of the finest troupes I have seen perform in my over four decades of reviewing live stage performances…The seven-member cast for this production – who in some instances take on additional roles – were nothing short of brilliant…a transformative experience” – ARTSFUSE BOSTON

Sweet Bird of Youth was mesmerizing. Bold choices were made by every cast member. Marcel Meyer was heart breaking as Chance Wayne. Fiona Ramsay was captivating as Princess Kosmonopolis.” DOMENICK DANZA

“the staging and costumes were remarkable, and the gender-fluid casting worked wonders” – THE PROVINCETOWN BANNER

“excellent acting…The use of masks, of cross-gender casting, and of stylized lights and movement at times was an excellent choice to remind us that this play is not naturalistic.”  HUFFINGTON POST

“One expects, by now, to be enthralled by anything the South African company brings to Provincetown—but this was one of their best… exceptional theatre…Marcel Meyer is brilliant as Chance Wayne…Princess Kosmonopolis, as played by Fiona Ramsay, is quite simply a delight…a lot of it is down to Fred Abrahamse’s brilliant direction and how the actors have responded to it…Watching a production of this calibre is a true treat…See it!” PTOWNIE NEWS

“With this deftly staged Sweet Bird of Youth, Abrahamse & Meyer Productions have confirmed their impressive reputation for present plays by Tennessee Williams: to the already complex script is added a rich overlay of analogy with Shakespearean and Greek tragedy, will all their attendant wealth of philosophical reflection…Meyer and Ramsay do full justice to these succulent, if antipathetic roles…As usual, Meyer’s costume design is spectacular…truly great theatre” CAPE TIMES

“tour-de-force” DIE BURGER

“Abrahamse has kept to the spirit of the worth with direction that brings out the flawed essence of all the characters, masterfully bringing the work to its shocking finale. It is the big three parts that get the most airtime – and these were remarkably well played. Marcel Meyer was the epitome of a small-town gigolo with big aims but little chance of achieving them – a nicely nuanced turn. Fiona Ramsay was simply magnificent as the faded, ultimately shallow diva. Michael Richard as a seething bundle of hatred and discrimination in a role he fully inhabited. Sweet Bird of Youth is a challenging, thought-provoking, and chilling mediation, one which this production does full justice to.” WEEKEND SPEACIAL

FLEUR DU CAP THEATRE AWARDS:

Best Actress – Fiona Ramsay [nomination]

Best Costume Design – Marcel Meyer [nomination]

ARTSFUSE listed SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH as one of the best productions of 2017 in the greater Boston Area:

“This superb South African staging of Tennessee Williams’s Sweet Bird of Youth, a tale of reckless ambition and love gone astray, featured Marcel Meyer as gigolo Chance Wayne and Fiona Ramsay as the tawdry Princess Kosmonopolis. The set and lighting by Abrahamse – a stage surrounded by a gurgling moat – cast a hallucinatory spell. The cast’s delivery of Williams’s poetic dialogue was achingly delicate. This troupe travels from Cape Town to Cape Cod each year. It should be booked at a larger Boston-area venue in 2018.”

DIE BURGER listed SWEET BIRD OF YOUT as one of the top productions in Cape Town 2018:

“Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer’s production of Sweet Bird of Youth gave audiences in the Artscape Theatre to the opportunity to see Fiona Ramsay give a tour de force performance as the Princess Kosmonopolis. Together with Meyer in the role of gigolo Chance Wayne and the rest of the company they mesmerised the audience for almost three hours.”

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