Summer and Smoke is the featured play for this weekend’s 28th Annual Mississippi Delta Tennessee Williams Festival and it is uncanny how this play mimics events of today.
The play mentions Moon Lake, a town called Lyon and an epidemic that the male lead character Dr. John Buchanan is treating. It was written in 1947 and first performed on Broadway in October of that year.
“We are doing it virtually this year and it will be different,” said Jen Waller, co-director for this year’s festival. “We still have a lot of the same events and, as always, a highly-acclaimed lineup of actors and scholars will delve into the emotion and background of Tennessee Williams and his work.”
One of the highlights of the festival starts Thursday night with Part One of an online performance of Summer and Smoke starting at 7 p.m. The second part will be streamed at 7 p.m. Friday. Both will offer a selection of scenes with actors from around the country performing the parts and film footage of Clarksdale locations that inspired Williams’ work.
The festival runs Oct. 15-17 with the weekend filled with writing workshops, scholarly presentations, student drama competitions and digital porch plays.
A full schedule can be found at: https:// deltawilliamsfestival.com /
All events and programming will stream both through the festival’s Facebook page (MississippiDeltaTennesseeWilliamsFestival) and YouTube. Simply click the pink-lettered links to enjoy.
Participants will have the chance to interact and send questions through each page’s chat features during the three full days of programming.
“I believe we are on target for a strong MS Delta Tennessee Williams Festival,” said
Waller. “We have been blessed with a wonderful support team led by artistic director, Dr. Matt Foss of the University of Toledo, who has been a presenter in the festival for several years.”
While the online portion will give the festival national appeal, the Cutrer Mansion will host screenings on the grounds and give Clarksdale a chance to showcase the local hospitality and Delta culture that Williams’ wrote about.
“We will be enforcing masks and social distancing and will move inside the Norman Brown Commons Building in case of inclement weather,” said Waller. “Local people look forward to this event and we hope this will offer them an opportunity to enjoy it as a community.”
The festival is also pleased to announce that seven high schools from around the state will participate in the Student Drama Competition: Clinton High School, Lake Cormorant High School, Northwest Rankin High School, Ocean Springs High School, Power APAC, St. Martin High School and West Point High School.
There will also the opportunity to participate in a special writing workshop with Dr. Ann Fisher-Wirth of the University of Mississippi on The Poetry of Place. This workshop will be held Friday morning.
The festival is sponsored by Coahoma Community College with support from the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Mississippi Humanities Council and the Coahoma County Tourism Commission.
For more information, contact Jen Waller at 662-645-3555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.