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Battle Of Angels

SEPTEMBER 2021 - New Ohio Theater, New York, NY;

Central Park, New York, NY 

&

Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, Provincetown, MS

The battles Tennessee Williams fought and lost with Hollywood censors are famous. Displays of a woman’s lust or the outburst of a man’s gay ways were chopped off (despite the author’s protests) in order to release the money-making films adapted from Williams’ Broadway hits: A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Sweet Bird of Youth.

About

Battle of Angels is the play that began Williams’ battle with censors. A production of Battle was meant to hit Broadway after a Boston try-out in 1940. Though not exactly banned in Boston, its run was cut short after the Boston City Council demanded an investigation. “Lascivious and immoral” reported Boston Police Commissioner Joseph F. Timilty. The show’s star Miriam Hopkins responded, “The dirt is something in the minds of some of the people who have seen it. They read meanings into it according to their own suppressed feelings.”

For the play to continue in Boston, censors demanded certain lines be cut, including:  “All references to [the] deity and Christ,” and “to [the] stigmatae” on the hero’s hands. A painting of the hero which resembled Jesus started a scandal of its own among those in the audience who hadn’t been following the plot and thought a portrait of their Savior was being desecrated. A temporary solution had been to put the painting  in a closet. Eventually the painting was changed so it looked nothing like Jesus. Then it could be destroyed in Boston without offense.

When Margaret Webster, the original director of Battle, returned to Boston to watch the censored version in performance she wrote to say she “found a castrated and largely incomprehensible edition of the play dying an inevitable death at the Wilbur Theatre.”

The uncensored text was presented by Blessed Unrest, directed by Jessica Burr.

Production CREDITS

Written by

Tennessee Williams

Directed by

Jessica Burr

Featuring

 Heather Benton, Dylan Gervais, Michael Gene Jacobs, Nancy McArthur, Ariel Polanco, Mayadevi Ross,Ronnie Williams,and Anna Wulfekuhle

Production Stage Management

Margaret Gleberman

Composition and Sound Design

Adrian Bridges

Set Design

Sohn Plenefisch

Costume Design

Sera Bourgeau

Lighting Design

Elizabeth M. Stewart

Assistant Director/Dialogue Coach

Aaron Michael Zook

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