Marian Gallaway, the namesake of UA Theatre & Dance’s mainstage theatre, and the first Director of Theatre at The University of Alabama, was lifelong friends with renowned American playwright Tennessee Williams. In a foreword to Gallaway’s book on all things theatre, Williams speaks to her talent and her important influence on his life. “Quite possibly I derived more from this friendship than I did from any of the actual courses that I undertook,” Williams wrote about their time in school together. “Marian Gallaway was one of those persons who lived and breathed theatre and somehow managed to infect her associates with her own religious excitement about it.”
Williams’ ties to UA Theatre & Dance through Gallaway and his southern heritage are what drew third year MFA Directing candidate Raines Carr to The University of Alabama. Williams was born in Mississippi and spent most of his life traveling around the South. Many of his plays are set in cities like New Orleans, Memphis, or even gulf coast towns near Mobile. “I first encountered his work as a teenager in need of direction,” says Carr discussing how Williams’ plays have influenced and motivated his career. “I am always taken aback with wonder, astonishment, and disbelief that one man could feel so deeply… and articulate it in the form of theatre.”
During the rehearsal process for The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, Carr visited Williams’ hometown of Columbus, MS with lead actress Chelsea Reynolds and their spouses. With the help of literary scholar Steve Pieschel, they toured the famous “Weeping Angel” tombstone in the historic Friendship Cemetery and the old Victorian home that served as the rectory for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church where many scenes in the play take place at the rectory.
The Eccentricities of a Nightingale runs February 20 through February 25 at 7:30PM and February 26 at 2:00PM at the Allen Bales Theatre. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in the lobby of Rowand-Johnson Hall, by phone at (205) 348-3400 or online at theatre.ua.edu.
For a full performance and event calendar, more information, and to sign up for a free e-newsletter, visit http://theatre.ua.edu.