Spring Play, 'Orpheus Descending,' Dramatizes Insanity of Rural South

Fullerton College Hornet  - Mark Morson - Friday, March 26th, 1965

The cast is set and rehearsals are underway for Tennessee William's "Orpheus Descending". The spring play will be held in FUHS' little theater six times from the sixth to the fifteenth of May.

The students cast for the lead parts are Judith Stoner, who plays Lady Torrence; Gary Shortall, portraying Val Xavier; Marilyn Brenton as Carol Cutrere and Rosalie Abrams as Vee Talbott. Walter Hastings will assist director George Archambeault in the production.

"Orpheus Descending" is said to be one of Williams' pleasant plays, with characters determined to free themselves from corruption, with some sensitive philosophical comments in passing about the loneliness of the human being condemned in his world to solitary confinement for the whole of his life.

Williams is in a more humane state of mind than he has been for several years. The introduction of the musical vagabond to the woman who keeps the store, their humorous talk, their serious talk, and the simplicity of their liaison after they have come to know one another is all written in his best style of mood, lyricism and tenderness.

According to Harpers, "The play is an allegory, tempered with melodrama. It is the Orpheus legend more or less unvarnished. A wandering folk - singer descends upon a representative Hades of the small town rural South and nearly rescues from it, by his native animality, a full blooded woman married to a dying man.

There are various sub-plots; most of them are more interesting than the main one and all of them revolving around the same human conflict; that between emotion and decency on the one hand, and the explosive and neurotic repressions of the dominant Southern community on the other.

Williams has a marvelous hatred of the characteristic death - loving insanities of the white Protestant American, and he depicts them with a lingering and loving venom. He can make them funny, as well, and he convinces one that he could make them tragic if he wanted to."

"Tennessee Williams is a dramatic poet of lost souls, and a stunning writer for the theater. It is impossible justifiably to call them decadent; for their concern with ailing spirits, their sheer vitality is too tremendous," says drama critic Richard Watts Jr.

Director George Archambeault said the reason Orpheus was chosen was not only because its many roles afford a chance for many students to act. It is also a very dramatic play concerned with current problems of the South. He >points out that the play is aimed directly at the mature audience, college level and above. It should prove to be an interesting and provocative play.

Tickets will be free to students and Mr. Archambeault stated that the best measure of success would be an audience made up entirely of students.