Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Annie Russel Theater in Winter Park, FL
Written by Tennessee Williams
Directed by Marianna DiQuattro
Starring Eric Zivot, Fisher Alexander, and Dassika Gilkey.
by Carl F. Gauze
Having money is a curse, and the more money you have, the more accursed you become. Big Daddy Pollitt (Zivot) owns the biggest chunk of the best soil in Mississippi but that won’t help him now. He’s dying, and he’s not chosen an heir just yet. He loves Brick (Alexander), but Brick is a drunk and his wife infertile. Sonny (Caedmon Griffith) has a brood mare for a wife and five or so kids. Who can count them, anyway? Decisions, decisions. Sonny tried hard, but no luck. His wife Maggie (Dassika Gilkey), nicknamed “Cat” , will stick with Brick no matter what, even if Sonny outbreeds them. Can Cat slap Brick into sanity or at least sobriety? That’s the drama, right there.
While Alexander kalumfs around the stage working on his drinking problem, Gilkey rolls around exuding sex and desperation. She’s almost as active as Zivot’ s Big Daddy, a man who may have lost a war, but plans to put up a rock wall of getting his way, here and in the afterlife. You may wonder what big Daddy sees in Brick, but that familial love–inexplicable and often poorly aimed. And I wonder, why not split the property? Farms of this size usually end up traded on the stock market anyway. Its not like Sonny won’t need a few ducats to get his brood out of the house so he can die in peace when the time is right. Supporting this drama, we find Big Mama (Margaret Stewart) acting as the calm center of this hurricane, a small herd of seven year old’s who terrorize the set and periodically, the audience.
This brutal story takes us into the world of the rich and uncertain. The pains here are the same as we lower classes experience: money management, love, and family continuity, and will any of us be remembered? It’s always helped that money doesn’t bring happiness, it merely allows you to be unhappy in nicer surroundings. These are fine looking surroundings with a sumptuous bedroom filling the stage, and the outlines of even bigger structures in the back. Love and money, birth and dissolution. It’s all right here, making this one of the best productions of Cat I’ve experienced.