New York’s famed avant-garde theatre troupe, The Wooster Group, makes a long-awaited return to Toronto with The Wooster Group’s Version of Tennessee Williams’ Vieux Carré. The company, which was founded in 1975 and led by director Elizabeth LeCompte, is renowned for interweaving text and technology to tell stories in new, inventive ways, and Tennessee Williams’ Vieux Carré is no exception. Here are five, solid reasons you should catch the Group while they’re in town for World Stage:
1) The last official Wooster Group performance in Toronto took place in 1989 with L.S.D. (…JUST THE HIGH POINTS…). That’s 23 long years ago. If history repeats itself, the Group won’t return to Toronto until 2035. By then, we’ll probably consume entire meals in pill form and commute to the theatre via hovercraft.
2) For you Hollywood buffs out there, The Wooster Group has launched the careers of many actors and directors from the silver screen, including founding member Willem Dafoe. Other Wooster Group members and affiliates include Spalding Gray, Steve Buscemi, and Frances McDormand.
3) The Wooster Group’s Version of Tennessee Williams’ Vieux Carré almost didn’t happen. In February 2011, LeCompte told The New York Times: “I never had any interest in doing anything by Tennessee Williams, mainly because I thought he’d been done . . . A Streetcar Named Desire for me is the pinnacle of filmmaking and theater. I didn’t want to compete, so I put him off limits.” Thankfully she changed her mind.
5) This isn’t your grandmother’s version of a Tennessee Williams. If you blush easily, this may not be your ideal night out at the theatre. For the remaining 99.9% of you, the Los Angeles Times sums it up by saying the performance “bridges the gap by treating this literary and sexual coming-of-age drama with an impious piety. (Warning: skimpy underwear, rubber phalluses and lewd sexual acts abound with dry insouciance.) . . . If this rendering of “Vieux Carré” offends, it does so in a manner that is close to the erotic-melancholy way Williams intended.”
The Wooster Group’s Version of Tennessee Williams’ Vieux Carré opens March 28 at Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage. Get your tickets now!