Meet the director of ‘Tennessee Williams Act One’

Tennessee Williams One Acts is now playing at Saddleback College, featuring four short stories set in the early 30s.

The director of Tennessee Williams, Hal Landon. Photo courtesy Heidi Gutweiler

Long Beach City College professor Hal Landon is the director of the play, with experience in theatre and is an actor himself. Landon shares some of Tennessee Williams’ background to give a better understanding of the stories

“A lot of Tennessee Williams’ plays are based off of people he knew and was close to,” said Landon.” In fact, you can see that he took his sister Rose as an inspiration in many of the characters. Rose was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and was very sexual and unpredictable, almost like having a spilt personality.” 

“The first story takes place in St. Louis where he lived as a little boy,” said Landon. “During this time, he felt stuck and had the urge of becoming a writer. Williams had an adversarial relationship with his mother. The only mother in this play is kind of the opposite of his mother, she is a very caring and sensible woman.”

The play starts off with The Long Goodbye staring Joe Fernandez as Joe, Eron Rasor as Silva, Brionne Kirkwood as Myra, and Veronica Campos as Mother. The Long Goodbye is a flashback story about Joe and his friend Silva moving out of their apartment. Joe is having a hard time letting go of his parents’ death and his sister Myra’s troubling path she is heading down.
Brionne Kirkwood is also an actress and singer. She shares her experience as playing Myra.

“My favorite part about this play was the cast bonding behind the stage, and the improv games we play,” said Kirkwoord. “We are all friends which makes the experience very fun. Working with Hal was great, and I learned a lot from him.”

“This was my first play at Saddleback, and I have been acting since I was eight years old,” said Kirkwood. “I will definitely do more plays after this.”
Each story is a one act play, the longest one being 25 minutes and the shortest is around ten minutes. The play took five weeks to rehearse, and stars 11 different actors.
Stage manager Kristina Savage is in charge of ques. Her responsibility is managing the light change, sound change, and preparing the scenery for each set.
“I started to stage manage about two weeks before opening, but the cast has been rehearsing for about two months,” said Savage. “This was my first-time stage managing, and it was a bit difficult for me, and nerve wrecking but I got it.”
This hour-long play illustrates some of the struggles Tennessee Williams knew from his past. The play is available to see until May 7th.