The Reality of Camino Real

Feb 22, 2011

A confined, claustrophobic place filled with desperate people controlled by a despotic ruler. The latest urban Middle East protest? No—an early 1950s work by Tennessee Williams, rarely produced, atypical (think Dante, not Stanley Kowalski) and now strangely relevant: Camino Real.

The Theatre @ Boston Court could not have predicted the resonance of its current production (with the CalArts School of Theater) of Tennessee Williams’s Camino Real, but the contemporary echoes in this dream-like play buttress a powerful production from seasoned pros, CalArts professors and students.  The set, which looks like a painting by de Chirico as interpreted by a dusty street in San Salvador or Quito, frames the company of wonderful actors who move in sinsterly sensuous, tightly choreographed rhythms, always under the watchful eye of the Svengali-like Gutman, who calls out the changes of scenery and controls their fates.

The romantics of history (Don Quixote, Lord Byron, Camille, Casanova, Killroy) have somehow stumbled into this dry, gray “end of the royal road” and are caught by their own dreams and desires, stymied at every turn, seeing their best selves wither at the onslaught of what passes for reality on the Camino, fighting for the courage to leave, change, grow. This is not a happy play, but it’s a good play, a haunting (and perhaps daunting) play—and maybe an essential one for this moment.

Camino Real
Theatre @ Boston Court
70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena
Runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through March 13
Tickets at, or call the box office at 626.683.6883



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