I was familiar with Marisa Tomei from the Marvel movies and The Big Short, but that was about it. I’ve never seen My Cousin Vinny and I don’t feel any shame about it either. However, it didn’t mean that I wasn’t excited to see what she could do on stage in Roundabout’s production of Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo.
I’d admittedly never read this classic Williams’ play and I didn’t know anything about it.
The play, and this production of it, was really dark and depressing. When the lights went down at the end of the second act, I felt as though a weighted blanket had been lifted off me and I could breathe again. I think that was part of director Trip Cullman’s plan but it was a lot to take in.
The plot is best summarized from the show’s Wikipedia page, “an Italian-American widow in Mississippi who has withdrawn from the world after her husband’s death and expects her daughter to do the same.” Yeah, it’s depressing.
I thought Tomei was great – she was a total nutcase and I believed every second of it. Another notable cast member was Constance Shulman, who you’d recognize from Orange is the New Black. She played basically the same character on stage as she does onscreen, but that’s not to say she wasn’t wonderful to watch.
The Rose Tattoo was everything I expected. Tennessee Williams isn’t exactly known for his comedies after all.