Inspired by Williams’ 1953 Broadway play of the same name, the story is told from the perspective of Kilroy, a character based on patriotic iconography from the WWII era. The young American merchant seaman and onetime prizewinning boxer finds himself trapped in the surreal, dead-end town of Camino Real forced to grapple with mortality, the burning desire to connect and the will to live. Through his journey to bring renewed hope to the town of lost souls, Kilroy meets a cast of unlikely characters from various periods of history and pop culture, such as Casanova, Esmeralda (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Marguerite (The Lady of the Camellias), and Lord Byron, who together struggle to escape their fates.
Music, choreography and emotion were as intertwined as the characters, whose fraught stories unfolded through strains drifting in and out as in a dream. Performed by the Atlanta Ballet orchestra under conductor Ari Pelto, Peter Salem’s score evoked a circus; the hypnotic Gypsy, with violin melodies both plaintive and seductive; a toreador’s horn; the indefatigable Klezmer; and an after-hours vaudeville show. Kilroy’s sparkling minimalist theme was light shining in darkness.
Salem's music is richly evocative of love, hate, tenderness, pain, fear, and hope. The powerful drums are the heartbeat of the main character, but also of life itself, pounding above the poignant melodies. I think Tennessee Williams' story has been waiting for this music ever since the play was written.
Photo: Kim Kenny
Photo: (top and right): Charlie McCullers