Photography by Greg Autry
All Images ©GregAutry 2014
Emily Low is Maggie the Cat. With her smoldering sensuality this true Southern Belle radiates sexuality and forever ups the temperature of this Pulitzer Prize winning play (1955) by the esteemed Tennessee Williams.
At the Repertory East Playhouse, in Santa Clarita California (an hour or so North of downtown Los Angeles) my wife and I were treated to a gem of a surprise play, and a standout Cast. Highlighted no doubt, in her theatrical debut, by Emily Low (aka Jolee Blon). Having previously appeared in David Lynch's `Crazy Clown Time', and as Marilyn Monroe on the Showtime series `Ray Donovan', the Actress shines in `Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' as Maggie. Admittedly it is hard to take your eyes off of this voluptuous beauty. Over the course of two hours, on stage almost constantly, her lines are delivered sharply with intensity and emotion. With the rest of the cast feeding off of her, you begin to feel a part of the family drama sitting inside the plantation home on the Mississippi Delta. I had an opportunity to interview Emily after seeing the Production and she told me one thing that attracted her to the role was the intensity of emotion in the Dialog. And bring the emotion she does !
The well known storyline centers around Brick, Maggie's husband and Son to Big Daddy, and his fall into alcoholism after the suicide of his best friend. Brick is deftly played by Anton Troy, who delivers his performance is sterling fashion and I was happy to see, not overly melodramatic (as many productions have been). I found Troy's portrayal of Brick mesmerizing.
Big Daddy, played in style and comfort by John Lacy, has a big birthday approaching and more importantly a battle with Cancer. As the family squabbles and argues over who will inherit the family estate, all Big Daddy wants is for the rightful heir and favorite son, Brick, to have a child with Maggie. Therein ensues our dilemma , as Brick cares not about the Estate, nor Maggie, as he mourns and sinks deeper into his bottle.
Meanwhile Big Mama, robustly portrayed by Missy Doty, tries holding everything together in blissful ignorance, and cajoles and pries into Brick and Maggie's love life and why they have not produced a child. Maggie, for her part, certainly pulls out all the stops as she cavorts and seduces Brick with her abundant charms. No less seducing the audience Maggie will not stop in her pursuit of Love, a child, and her rightful place in the family line of heirs.
John Lacy, as Big Daddy, holds it all together as he wields power in his kingdom, keeps the family piranha at bay in their feeding frenzy, and confronts the truth about his son Brick, along with his own mortality. One very touching scene occurs when Big Daddy, John Lacy, and Brick, Anton Troy, embrace in revelation about a truth shared between father and son.
In supporting roles were Gabrielle Eubank as Mae, Anthony Dietel as Gooper, Barry Agin as Reverend Tooker, and Neil Fleischer as Doctor Baugh. All wonderful Actors who brought a richness to all of the characters. I hope to see more or each Actors work in the future.
When presenting a well known, and oft performed piece, it is often difficult to keep it fresh. Yet Director Brad Sergi brought his own style and flair to the Production by blocking in the scenes and playing off of the actors own expression of emotion. In discussing the work with Brad he confided this was not how he normally works and it was in fact, more difficult. I could see where changes were made from ongoing rehearsals to the first performance, as staging was reworked, lighting tweaked, and all the little details that go into a great production were enhanced. That is the ultimate responsibility of the Director. In his second Play directed at `The Rep' and also his second here by Tennessee Williams (the former being `A Streetcar Named Desire'), Brad Sergi does a masterful job with Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, continuing to enable his Actors and to build a richness of layers in beautifully orchestrated performances.
The night was owned by Emily Low. I was never more eagerly seduced and so willingly gave of myself. As for Brick's seduction, I expected something "else".. All I can say here, is that the final scene is not to be missed.
Fade to Black
`Cat On A Hot Tin Roof', At The Repertory East Playhouse, Santa Clarita, California, Although Scheduled to close June 14, the show has closed. I have no additional information.
Greg Autry is a Southern California based Artist, Photographer, and Writer. See more of Greg's work at GregAutryPhoto and on Facebook. And see all of the Splash Magazine articles by Greg Autry at LASplash Magazine.
Watch for upcoming articles in Splash Magazine about the newest realms to come at the Labyrinth Masquerade Ball, July 4 & 5, in Los Angeles, as well as a Review on the life and work of artist Julian Ritter.