Review by Tony Bohn
I have nothing but good things to say about The Williams Project’s new production of Tennessee Williams’ classic play “Small Craft Warnings,” and highly recommend everyone checks this show out ASAP! Directed by Ryan Guzzo Purcell at Washington Hall, “Small Craft Warnings” takes place in a dive bar on the rural coastline of Southern California sometime around the mid-1900s. This show is an immersive experience with the entire room in Washington Hall having been transformed into a bar where audience members sit amongst all the action taking place in the play. The show gives us a glimpse into the troubled lives of all the bar patrons whose struggles combined with alcohol provides us with laughs, lots of drama, and several poignant moments.
The mission of The Williams Project states that it is a theatre ensemble that strives to make theatrical excellence accessible to diverse and engaged audiences while paying their artists a living wage. Ticketing utilizes a pay-what-you-can model which allows everyone of all financial means to attend and support the production. The diverse and talented cast very much lived up to this mission, and I can’t stress enough how refreshing and important it is to see a theater trying this social justice approach in their productions.
All eight actors were skilled at bringing their roles to life, and it was so delightful seeing this production done in a non-traditional way. I could see a little of myself in all the characters in this show, and I felt like the show was holding up a mirror for me to do some self-examination of my own life by dropping little truth bombs throughout the play. This production also had a surprise heart-warming ending!
Overall, through the mission of this theater, the direction of this production, and the actual play itself, I was left with a feeling of just how essential inclusivity is to society as well as an understanding and sense of empathy for just how tough it is for all of us to live on this planet sometimes. “Small Craft Warnings” runs at Washington Hall now through August 25, 2019. Ticket reservations and info can be found here.
Photo by Marcia Davis