Tennessee Williams’ classic play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opens this weekend at the Cabaret Theatre.
The story follows the family of Big Daddy Pollitt, a wealthy plantation owner in Mississippi who has been diagnosed with cancer, as they celebrate his 65th birthday. The play focuses on the relationship between Big Daddy’s son Brick, an alcoholic and former star athlete, and his wife Maggie, who compares herself to a cat on a hot tin roof, giving the play its name. Maggie believes her brother- and sister-in-law are plotting to take away Brick’s part of the family fortune, and hates their five “no-neck” children.
The play is directed by Dr. Sharon Croft, a communication professor.
This production is especially significant for senior theatre studies major Jack Warner. Warner plays Brick and is using the play as his senior capstone project.
Warner guesses that he has acted in around six or seven productions in the Cabaret Theatre, but Cat on a Hot Tin Roof has been a different experience for him.
“It’s a serious play, and I’m known for doing comedy stuff so it’s kind of like one last test before I graduate,” Warner said. “… I’m used to getting laughs, but now I’m just being real serious.”
Warner said he’s enjoyed being a part of Capital’s theatre program because of how close-knit the major is.
Bridget Sowers, a first-year professional writing and journalism major plays one of Big Daddy’s grandchildren in the production. This is the first play she’s done at Capital.
“I love theatre because everyone is usually really outgoing,” Sowers said. “Especially with it being my first year, it was a good way to find that community.”
Sowers said she looks forward to taking on roles in future productions.
Lauren Payne, who plays the role of Maggie, is a senior theare studies major who has acted in about ten Capital University Theatre productions during her four years here. She said taking on the role of Maggie has been challenging because it’s a different kind of character than she’s taken on before.
“A lot of the roles that I’ve played historically at Capital have been the very sweet and timid and broken girls, which are very interesting characters to play and I love playing them,” Payne said. “But Maggie is bolder and a lot more dynamic that any other character [I’ve played], so just getting into that different kind of mindset, I think that’s been challenging.”
Payne said she’s intentionally kept herself from seeing other productions of the play in preparation for taking on her role, but she’s excited to see the famous movie version from 1958 when the show’s run is over.
“When I get cast in a role that’s been done before, I make a pretty intentional move not to expose myself to any of those other versions because I want this to be my character,” Payne said. “… I just wanted to make sure that this is Lauren Payne’s Maggie, and not Lauren doing Elizabeth Taylor’s Maggie.”
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof hits the stage of the Cabaret Theatre in the basement of the Student Union this Thursday Nov. 15 through Saturday Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. and Sunday Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. Students get into the show free with their student ID, and reservations can be made by calling the box office at 614-236-7174.