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“Sweet Bird of Youth”

By Tennessee Williams

Marcia Gay Harden and Brian J. Smith

I don’t ask for your pity, but just for your understanding – not even that – no. Just for some recognition of me in you, and the enemy, time, in us all.

1956. A hotel on the Gulf of Mexico. Alexandra del Lago, a fading Hollywood legend, has fled the ridicule that greeted the premiere of her come-back movie. Desperate for anonymity and forgetfulness, she is holed up in a small seaside town.

With her is Chance Wayne – a young hustler, trying to lend his wasted, disreputable life some meaning and now returning home to reclaim his childhood love from her ruthless father, the corrupt politician ‘Boss’ Finley.

In his most searing and personal of plays, Tennessee Williams – one of the greatest writers of the 20th century – examines failed ambition, lost youth and love, and the corruption and bigotry that lurks beneath the American Dream. As the present-day United States faces uncertainty and momentous change, Sweet Bird of Youth is a portrayal of the degradation of American values and the corrosive lure of celebrity.

Jonathan Kent returns to Chichester following his huge success with Gypsy and the Young Chekhov Trilogy to direct this neglected masterpiece, with a stellar cast led by two of America’s leading stage and screen actors.

Celebrated Oscar and Tony Award-winning actor Marcia Gay Harden makes her UK theatre debut as Alexandra. Her films include Miller’s Crossing, Pollock and Mystic River. She won a Tony Award for God of Carnage. Brian J. Smith, who plays Chance, reprised his Tony-nominated Broadway role in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie in the West End in 2017. He can also currently be seen on screen starring in Netflix’s Sense8.

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