“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” is absolutely something William Shuman need never worry about when he is on stage performing “En Avant! An Evening with Tennessee Williams,” a new solo show presented as part of the NY International Fringe Festival. Mr. Shuman also penned the eighty-five minute piece with sensible and enlightening information about the idiosyncratic and fascinating author and playwright. He presents Tennessee Williams with style and grace, not withholding faults and flaws that might have contributed to his isolation.
Always quickly returning to the carafe of brandy on stage, the more he drinks the more he intoxicates the audience with stories of his mother, brother, sister and lovers: stories and experiences that haunt his loneliness and provoke his creative process. He shares his life with his characters and his liquor, as painful shockwaves from the past ignite memories that surface with a smile. Mr. Shuman has the incredible ability to capture an audience during these silent recognitive moments. As he reveals the infectious spirit for writing, his personality becomes contagious in a warm, unthreatening way. Mr. Shuman never falters as Tennessee stumbles from too much drink, but keeps a steady path to deliver a brilliant, respectable and intriguing performance as he paints a colorful yet tattered portrait of a complex character.
Look for this wonderful performance, hopefully in a future incarnation. It will satisfy and be well worth your time and certainly an enjoyable evening of theatre.