Small Craft Warnings by Tennessee Williams
Regeneration Theatre, whose missions is to bring the rarely seen back into the spotlight took one of Tennessee Williams’ lesser plays and breathed new life into it. Lesser ONLY in the sense of visibility. This incredible gem is currently running at 13th Street Playhouse featuring Robert Maisonett, George A Morafetis, Jenne Vath, Jed Peterson, Nicole Greevy, Jon Spano, Jason Pintar, and Christian Musto and is directed by Barnaby Edwards and Marcus Gualberto; with lighting & sound by Allison Hohman.
We spoke with several of the actors in the production. Here we have our conversation with theater veteran, Nicole Greevy.
Tell us about yourself as an artist.
I’m Nicole Greevy, I am an actor and a writer. I am a regular contributor to the award-winning podcast Uncanny County, which is a world away from Tennessee Williams!
Tell us about your role in Williams’ Small Craft Warnings (actors, please discuss your part and its relation to the lot; creatives, tell us your function to the project/company)
I play Leona, an aging beautician who lives in a trailer, or, as she euphemistically calls it, a “home on wheels.” She is, I think, the best role I have ever done, and it blows my mind that, in 1973, Tennessee Williams created a middle-aged woman so in touch with her anger. In the past couple of years there’s been more and more conversation about how women are not allowed to be angry in our society and getting to play her now feels so timely.
Share with us your thoughts on independent theater. What is its significance to the skyline of entertainment in NYC?
Without independent theater, I think there will be no risk-taking in NYC theater. The costs of commercial theater are so great now that I think producers feel they have to play it safe- if they don’t believe the show will sell enough tickets, there’s no point. This play is not one of Tennessee Williams’ big ones, although I have come to love it every bit as much as I do The Glass Menagerie or A Streetcar Named Desire or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or Summer and Smoke. But the beauty and pathos of Small Craft Warnings doesn’t come across on page the way it does on stage- I think the audiences who come to see it will have a very different experience than those who just read it. And that’s the genius of Williams- his words, beautiful and carefully chosen as they are, are best heard, not read. And heard with an audience. I didn’t realize until opening night, with a full house, how very, very funny Small Craft Warnings is. That’s a discovery I couldn’t make without an audience. And it was really exciting.
And without independent theater, neither I nor the audience would have had that experience. Whether it’s new material, like the Fringe Festival does, or offering up forgotten gems like Regeneration Theatre does, independent theater offers experiences that commercial theater just can’t afford to.