Florida A&M University’s Essential Theater presents Cat on A Hot Tin Roof

Words By: Melissa Poux-Williamsimage

Curtains open and the scene is set, it is a summer evening in the deep south during the 1950’s. Big Daddy played by Fred Lee, is Mississippi’s cotton tycoon, a multimillionaire dying of cancer. It is his birthday and his family decides to throw Big Daddy a party. In three vivacious acts of denial, deceit and death, Brick (Chris Beckford Jr.), Big Daddy’s son and estranged husband to Maggie (Sarah Lubin) pull you into their web of lies and leave you in awe of how far people will go to hide their secrets.

Brick is dissatisfied with their marriage and depressed over his lover Skipper’s death. Brick continues to neglect Maggie and tend to his alcoholism instead.

Maggie wants desperately to save their marriage and grow their family. Desperate, determined and indifferent, Lubin commands the stage in her stellar performance of Maggie. Beckford and Lubin have a great chemistry leaving you hanging on to their every word.

During the first act, Brick and Maggie’s latest spat is interrupted by other family members attending Big Daddy’s party. Gooper, Bricks brother (Kyle Devin Hunter) and Mae (Akeiba Allen) Gooper’s wife, are trying to cut them out of the will. Allen and Hunter complement each other as well as the other supporting cast members.

There is a big elephant in the room, Big Daddy’s cancer. Unaware of the seriousness of the situation, doctors lie to Big Daddy and his wife Big Mama (Jessica “Raquel” Allen) so that he is able to enjoy his birthday. However, the bad news is known to the other family members as they try desperately to be written into his will.  During acts two and three, the family run around the subject of Big daddy’s health, all while  trying to get their hands on his fortune.

The play confronts, desire, homosexuality, deceit and denial in this Southern affluence performance. The characters had the audience going through every emotion right along with the actors. A captivating and titillating story with a gorgeous set from Ruben Arana, and amazing costume design by Edith Carnley, ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ exceeds expectations. Directed by Chris Berry, it is an unforgettable show not to be missed.

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