Eastport Art Center’s Stage East is presenting “Confessions of a Nightingale”, a play based on Charlotte Chandler’s interviews with Tennessee Williams from her book, “The Ultimate Seduction”. This play will open on Friday, August 8th, and will run for six performances over two weekends, August 8th, 9th and 10th and the 15th, 16th, and 17th. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7pm, Sunday matinees are at 3pm. It was adapted for the stage by Charlotte Chandler and Ray Stricklyn in 1983 and opened at the Beverly Hills Playhouse running for over a year.
If you love Tennessee Williams, you’ll enjoy the portrayal of this clever collage of his life. Confessions of a Nightingale is a one-man play about the life and times of Tennessee Williams. Mr. Williams, responding to questions from offstage, recounts his career, his successes and his failures. As Tennessee Williams says in the play, “Death ends a life, but not a relationship”. The setting seems to be the study in the playwright’s Key West house, which he loved and kept for a number of years. There’s a typewriter, books, fully stacked bar, and a wine glass—which is never empty in the course of the evening. The time is 1983, in the last few months of his life. The play offers a wide-reaching reflection on Williams’ life that includes his musings on writing, art, death, sexuality and the nature of fame. “I say publicly what most people say in private,” he tells the audience.
In a review of this play, The New York Times said, “Tennessee Williams was not a public performer, but in interviews and private relationships and in his ‘‘Memoirs’’ he was often given to self-revelation. It was impossible for him not to talk about himself, which he did with ebullience and even abandon, although his artistic life remained a closely guarded confidence between himself and his muse.”
Scott Sortman, who will portray Tennessee Williams, has been in theaters continuously throughout his life. First, as a student in UMM’s interdisciplinary fine arts program he appeared in productions at UMM with the Magnificent Liars, Stage East, Penobscot Theatre and Downriver Theatre. After graduating in 2004, Scott did ”a lot of theatre in a lot of places.” Working professionally in New York City, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and on national tour. During the mid-seventies, Sortman lived in Key West – the same timeline as Tennassee Williams. Having come to his senses, he’s moved back Downeast, but has no plans to go back to lobster fishing for a living. His last performance with Stage East was in “Love Letters” in August 2013.
In the end you are reminded that there are “no guarantees in life” but for one night, you can turn back the clock and spend an enchanting evening with Tennessee Williams. Scott Sortman will bring Tennesee Williams to life on stage in Eastport, Maine.
Tickets are $12, free for 18 and under. Call the box office at 853-4650 to reserve your seats. The Eastport Arts Center is located at 36 Washington Street in Eastport.