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Orpheus Descending by Tennessee Williams

They really do give us extraordinarily good theatre
— Christopher Hansford, Bath Chronicle

Set in the general store of a Southern American town, Orpheus Descending simmers with small-town gossip, scandal, rivalries and speculations. Lady, trapped in a loveless marriage and scarred from the violence and thwarted passions of her past, is awaiting the death of her husband Jabe.

As her provincial friends and neighbours fill the store with their whispers and innuendos, a hobo, Val, arrives in town. Drawn irresistibly together, Lady and Val are allowed a brief clandestine affair before suffering the most shocking consequences.

Orpheus Descending is a revision of Tennessee Williams' earlier, first professionally produced work, Battle of Angels. Over a period of 17 years Williams revised this tale of sexual liberation and repression in a bigoted rural Southern town. Although much of the play remains the same, this version of the events in Two Rivers County is significantly pared down and the drama more focused. The play was subsequently adapted for the screen and re-titled The Fugitive Kind, starring Anna Magnani and Marlon Brando.

In this production of Orpheus Descending, Barbara Ingledew and Richard Matthews play Lady and Val, following their brilliant and highly acclaimed performances as Blanche and Mitch in Next Stage’s 2006 production of A Streetcar Named Desire. The play contains some disturbing scenes.


Rehearsal Photographs: