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Tennesee Williams’ play put on by OSU theatre

Photo Courtesy of Eric Mayer

Tennessee Williams is a playwright forever enshrined in the history of American theater as the definitive Southern playwright of his era.

“You seldom get to see such huge, incredible human passion the way Tennessee Williams portrays it,” said Jim Bohr, who is the director of Ohio State’s version of “Summer and Smoke,” showing at the Thurber Theatre in the Drake Union. Shows are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Williams is best known for “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1948) and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1955). Both won the Pulitzer Prize, a U.S. award for music, journalism and literature.

But “Summer and Smoke” is one of Williams’ lesser-produced plays, providing the audience a chance to see a rare program.

“The play is terribly poetic and it’s the most emotional of all his plays,” Bohr said. “It’s a classic battle of emotional wills and the ever-present struggle in all our lives.”

It is the second of two full-stage productions of the academic quarter. “Palmer Park” was the first.

“We open Thursday night and we are very proud,” Bohr said. “I’ve been working on it as director since last spring and I am very excited about audiences seeing this great classic.”

Bohr also said his cast has really stepped up to handle the style and emotional value of the play.

The cast consists of Tory Matsos and Kevin McClatchy as the two leads, playing Alma and John.

The plot consists of a lonely minister’s daughter (Alma) and a young doctor (John) in 1916, living in a small Mississippi town.

The two clash when her spiritual devotion is at battle with his physical desire.

“It is a struggle that every human being toys with throughout his or her life,” Bohr said. “It’s at the essence of who we are as human beings.”

Bohr said Alma is the character Williams related to the most in his life.

“Williams reflects on the character of Alma in his biographies and memoirs as the character with all his fears, longings and great struggles, of himself personally,” Bohr said.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the OSU Theatre Box Office or online through TicketMaster.

Ticket cost for the public is $18. OSU faculty, staff and members of the alumni association, and senior citizens can purchase tickets for $15. Students and children tickets are $12.

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