“Instruments of strife and fate and the gods at play”

Here we are in St. Cloud on the Gulf Coast on Easter Sunday 1956, in a bedroom of the Royal Palms Hotel.  Uh, oh.  Chance Wayne is back in town.  There’s a woman still sleeping in the bed, Chance gets up and moves around, pours himself a drink.

We find out that Chance left town quite a while ago, and no one is expecting him back.  He tried for an acting career, but that didn’t shake out so well, so now he’s escorting women around as a kept man, a gigolo.  He’s still pretty young, in good shape as he moves around the bedroom in his pajama bottoms.

In the bed is the beautiful if aging actress The Princess Kosmonopolis, unaware that she’s been brought to Chance’s home town, unaware of the trouble he’s been in and will get into again.

Chance wants to see his local girlfriend, whom he left here years ago.  Heavenly Finley hasn’t forgotten him, and neither has Heavenly’s papa, Boss Finley.  He’s running for re-election, and the last thing he wants to hear about is Chance Wayne.  And that he is back in town.

A knock at the door, it’s George Scudder, he’s come to deliver a warning to Chance that he’d be better off just taking off again.  And from here on, the play develops like an old Greek play just aheaded for disaster.  It’s foretold, the hero has been warned, the hero has a few chinks in his armor and his honor, but stands his ground, refuses to leave as the clouds overhead get darker and darker.  The hero never kidnapped the Young Beauty, but he left her despoiled when he left town for fame and fortune.  And there’s no grandeur in the avenging forces, just townie thugs following orders.  The hero is warned away by both Artemis and Athena, but he goes on to his destiny.  Thud.

Everybody and everything is sort of tainted, that’s the South that Tennessee put on stage.  Nevertheless, the play has force and beauty, the actors declaim it with skill, the audience gave it a big standing Ovation.  My companion Miss Pickwicker was thrilled, he cheeks flushed with emotion.

The Heckler, a meager chorus if ever there was, was played by Gerry Maher.  Aleks Malejs plays the actress with verve, and Colleen Gaughan plays Aunt Nonnie with charm and delicacy.  Chance is played handsomely by Patrick Cameron.

Supporting photos are displayed on animal skins in the corners, a custom in the Pelopponesus, the Video Projections Designer was Brian Milbrand.  The Lighting Designer was Brian Cavanagh, the Set Design was by Kenneth Shaw.  The Director Fortunato Pezzimenti well polished the instruments of strife and fate and the gods at play.

– Willy Rogue Donaldson, Night Life Magazine