Maggie the Cat, the character responsible for thousands of overwrought Southern accents in high school drama competitions every year, is one of the most iconic parts in modern theater. The overheated, frustrated and passionate creature was embodied by Elizabeth Taylor in the film version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and most theatrical versions don't stray far from Taylor's interpretation of the desperate housewife. But Williams was notoriously unhappy with the film portrayals of his multi-dimensional family on the brink of implosion, and probably would have enjoyed the opportunity to see them in a slightly different context that would have brought to life more than a slow Southern drawl punctuated with nihilism and ruminations on mendacity. That's why reimagining the Pollitts as a Latino brood is such genius -- it takes the humid, sticky heat out of Cat and reworks it as a dry, fiery burn interspersed with the emotional intensity that Williams wove so well into his most famous work. Fort Worth's Artes de la Rosa recasts the family as Cubans on a sugar cane plantation in southern Florida, giving it an interesting cultural basis that imbues the familiar play with something fresh and different...and gives us all a break from the syrupy drawl that is too often as much a character in the play as the titular Maggie the Cat. The play runs at Rose Marine Theater, 1440 North Main St. in Fort Worth, through September 18. Tickets are $15. Visit rosemarinetheater.com.
Sept. 9-10; Sun., Sept. 12; Sept. 17-18, 2010