I was hooked, from the moment I first stepped foot into the red-bricked building of the Baltimore Center Stage, to the second I stood to lend my applause as the cast of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof took their standing ovation. Written by Tennessee Williams and directed by Judith Ivey, this production administers a thrilling insight into the turbulent mix of love, deception and forgiveness.
Perhaps you know the story: The 1954 couple, Maggie and Brick, are forced to face their inner demons as the passing of Brick’s closest friend stimulates a dependence on his whiskey cabinet, straining his relationship with his wife. Throughout their marital turmoil, lies and deception emerge as Maggie struggles to rekindle with her husband. Although Brick seems to have grown tolerant of Maggie’s seductive tendencies, her attempts still look nothing short of fatal attraction.
The hostility in the bickering voices between man and wife was not only heard, but also felt. Each time Maggie cried out to her emotionally lost husband, it was in hopes that he would at least turn to look at the woman he once loved. As a sucker for a good love story, of course I found myself struggling to hold back tears of my own.
Majority of the play is centered on Brick’s father, Big Daddy’s, 65th birthday celebration in a single room in Big Daddy’s lavish estate. Big Daddy’s confrontation with Brick and his alcohol problem is another heartfelt scene that paints the perfect picture of a father having to come to terms with the downward spiral of his son’s life.
The audience couldn’t help but be engrossed in the lives of the characters, gasping at the dark confessions and laughing at the exchange of banter. It was truly a sublime performance by all of the characters. As I drove home, leaving the culturally rich city of Baltimore behind me, I thought I might have to exchange any upcoming movie tickets for front row seats to the next opening act of another theatrical performance. This night was worth it.