Tennessee Williams’ ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ is a double shot for Antaeus Theatre Company

Maggie, who sets the tone and offers pages of exposition at the top of the play, is portrayed by Rebecca Mozo and Linda Park.Mozo’s Maggie is a relentlessly chatty, egotistic, glamorous celebutante. Brick is in the room, but it could be anyone, as long as she has an audience. In Antaeus’ signature style, the production is double cast, presenting different actor pairings at each performance. Park’s Maggie talks because she believes Brick will eventually listen, and she keeps looking for eye contact from him.
This couple is having, politely put, marital issues, and being under the family’s scrutiny day and night isn’t helping.The more the self-centered Maggie opens her mouth to rage about Brick’s coldness and their failure to have children, the more Brick retreats into Echo Spring, Williams’ gorgeously ironic brand name for Brick’s favorite bourbon. Williams didn’t set the entire play in Brick and Maggie’s bedroom, then have the extended family, plus physician and minister, traipse through, by accident.

Thursdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. (Allow time to find parking; some public lots post 3-hour limits.)Tickets: $30-$34.Length: 3 hours, including two intermissions.Suitability: Mature teens and adults, for situations, language and nudity.Information: 818-506-1983, www.antaeus.org. 110 E. Broadway, Glendale. ★★★&#xbdWhen: 8 p.m. Sundays, through May 7.Where: Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center. Saturdays, 2 p.m.

It’s stunning, then, to see how deep Philips goes, what a lifetime of an emotional well he has plunged Brick into and what dark, angry layers he comes back up with.The freshly showered Brick drops his towel mid-scene. As Ross Philips plays him, opposite Mozo, at first we wonder if the young actor has anything to offer the character, so withdrawn is the portrayal. In neither case does it get a perceptible reaction from Maggie. It’s a taunt when Philips does it, our first hint that this Brick is not a dullard. It’s careless when Bess does it. The way Daniel Bess has created Brick, paired with Park at the performances reviewed, this young husband doesn’t exactly hate Maggie, but he can’t crank up any feeling for her. Considering how so much else of what Brick does sets off an avalanche of reactions in her, this seeming failure to notice is baffling.
Like an abandoned lover, the double bed at the center of Brick and Maggie’s bedroom seems to writhe and cry out in loneliness, in Antaeus Theatre Company’s production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” But, as does the play, it harbors secrets, too many of which are still unrevealed by the play’s end.Tennessee Williams wrote this Pulitzer Prize winner in the 1950s, yet as it unfolds here, under Cameron Watson’s direction, these characters are people we know, suffering agonies we still experience.They’re hiding, though, under societal expectations and stylized theatricality. At the end of the play’s three hours, we can only look longingly at them and wish we had an unornamented few minutes alone with each.