Fireworks exploded in the background and violent colors burst across the stage as Big Daddy storms off stage at the end of the second act shouting "Liars, liars, mendacity!"
Such was the atmosphere of Tennessee William's play, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" playing in the University Theatre, under the direction of Don LaCasse, chairman of the Department of Theatre and Dance. This play was largely about lies and false masks, as well as poor communication skills in a very troubled family.
This production was wonderfully casted. Each actor was able to zone in on the personal conflict of his or her character and fortify the character's personality.
All female leads of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," did a wonderful job of making the southern accents come alive on stage. Carrie Elizabeth Spangler, who played Maggie, was seductive and catty. Natisha Anderson played the charming eavesdropper and always-pregnant Mae and Kathryn Gilbert played Big Mamma, who worked so hard to try to make everyone happy.
Male leads are Rex Alan Clifton Jr. as the bitter alcoholic Brick, and his father, Big Daddy, played by Ryan Woodle. Both men condemn mendacity while living in the thick of it.
One of the most captivating parts of the production was Big Daddy's humor, and his infectious laugh. Big Daddy comes across as a hard coarse character, with no feelings except those for his son Brick.
During the powerful second act, Brick and his father, Big Daddy, engage in a lengthy conversation about living with lies, death and drinking. A real father-son heart-to-heart, was followed by a revelation and a period of trail brought to the distraught family.
Beyond the acting and scenery, which was very timely for the play, lights and sound added tremendous theatrical effects to "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." During the most climatic portions of the play, there were other events not pertaining to the issue at hand taking place. Whether it was a game of croquet, fireworks at dusk or a violent midnight storm, these side events told the progression and nature of the play.
Regardless of the three-hour length (with two 10-minute intermissions), this play was wholly captivating and provocative.