MAGGIE: You know what I feel like? I feel all the time like a cat on a hot tin roof.
BRICK: Then jump off the roof, Maggie. Jump off it. Cats jump off roofs and land uninjured. Do it. Jump.
It’s one of the core plays in the American dramatic canon, and yet there’s something distinctly unsettling about Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Simon Stone at Belvoir. Written in 1955, the play is about a family on a
plantation whose magnate, Big Daddy, is dying, drawing everyone into the
maelstrom. Described as “a powerful social critique of family breakdown, gender
roles and relationships,” it is about the end of an era and the next beginning,
a portrait of two generations, “one [that] doesn’t want to die, [while] the other
feels crowded out, confused, and desperate to inherit whatever it can get
before it’s too late.” But like its fellow plays in the canon – Arthur
Miller’s Death of a Salesman, and
Williams’ The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire – it is also a
deeply unsettling, troubling, problematic play, not least because of its
portrayal, characterisation and function of women. Mississippi