The Catastrophe of Success

Something Cloudy, Something Clear

Another thing: In the program notes, Kip is depicted as "sexually ambivalent." If Kip's character is supposed to be sexually ambivalent, it doesn't come across. A potential freeloader, yes. A tease, definitely. But when is "sexually ambivalent" asexual and unemotional?

Two questions arise that may have as much to do with flaws in Williams's character development as with the actors' performances: How is it that Kip's terminal illness reappears after his one night with August, quickly enough that he is collapsing and talking with an intermittent speech impediment? Why is it that when Clare, a middle-class Rhode Island preppy, speaks of her precocious "Alabama girl" sexuality and of "playing house in the attic" with second cousins, she suddenly has a Southern accent? These inconsistencies add more uncertainty to already shaky characters.

The stage is intimate and smartly set up for the space constraints, although the lighting and sound get overdone at the end, when a character has a moment of lucidity or a flashback and a dramatic melody or shadow seems to be catapulted from the back of the room.

Life's a beach, and then it becomes fodder for drama
Ricky J. Martinez
Life's a beach, and then it becomes fodder for drama

Details

Written by Tennessee Williams. Directed by Bill Yule. Starring Edward Saunders, Daniel Barr, Meredith Mursuli, Ricky Martinez, Brent Williams, and Evelyn Perez. Through April 23.
Horizons Repertory at the Little Stage, Acorns Civic Theatre, 2100 Washington Ave, Miami Beach; 305-271-0201.

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In the end one wonders why an enthusiastic young artistic director would choose an obscure Tennessee Williams play, one that was not a big success in its off-off-Broadway debut in 1981. A director chooses to put on the obscure work of a great dramatist in hopes of igniting a fire to a piece that has not received the appreciation it should. I am not sure if Something Cloudy, Something Clear deserves such a revival, but if you are to revive the marginal or obscure, it should be riveting. Otherwise it will be a bigger letdown than a so-so revival of a well-known work. Horizons should be less timid about forging a more concrete and deliberate directional goal: Where is the group trying to go? It would be good if that were soon something clear.

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