Press Release from Coahoma Community College
October 4, 2010
Panny Mayfield, Director
CLARKSDALE - Next weekend’s Mississippi
Delta Tennessee Williams is drawing international attention
with Austrian filmmaker Herbert Krill recording its
two-day program for a documentary marking the playwright’s
100th birthday in March 2011.
The 45-minute documentary will air on Public Television
in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, says Krill, who
plans to be in Clarksdale October 15-16 for the 18th
A veteran filmmaker for the past 30 years, Krill says,
“The main question the documentary will pose is how
relevant and topical is T.W. today.”
“Given that so many German and Austrian theatres
are currently staging plays by T.W. and that so many
issues he touched are still ‘hot’ today, the answer
will be an emphatic ‘yes,’” continues the filmmaker.
Although the German-language film will be geared to
a Central European audience, Krill says he will create
a version with English subtitles to screen at American
with Mother and Sister
In 2009 two Williams dramas dominated London’s West
End theatres with sold-out productions of Cat on a Hot
Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire.
In August 2009 the British Broadcasting Corporation
(BBC) aired its Radio 2 documentary recorded at Clarksdale’s
Williams Festival to an audience of 13 million.
Already booking reception reservations for the 2010
festival are fans of the playwright from Oxford, England,
St. Augustine, Kansas, California, Michigan, and Tennessee.
Tom “Tennessee” Williams was born March 26, 1911,
in Columbus. When he was a toddler, his family moved
to Clarksdale where his grandfather, the Rev. Walter
Dakin, was rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church for
When the U.S. Postal Service unveiled its Tennessee
Williams postage stamp during the 1995 festival in Clarksdale’s
historic district, keynote speaker Kenneth Holditch
labeled Williams as America’s premiere playwright.
“He produced dramas that have become staples in world
theatre and some of the most memorable characters since
Shakespeare – Blanche DuBois, Big Daddy, Maggie the
Cat, and Amanda Wingfield,”said the speaker.
“He spent his most formative years in Clarksdale in
the Mississippi Delta which supplied him with more stories
and characters than any other place on earth,” Holditch
The 2010 festival opens Friday morning at Coahoma
Community College’s Whiteside Lecture Hall with Holditch
presenting another keynote address. This one explores
the screenplay, The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond.
With its 1920-era setting in the Mississippi Delta
and Memphis, the movie was filmed and directed in 2009
by Memphis native Jodie Markell from a screenplay written
Later before the movie is screened at the Delta Cinema
in downtown Clarksdale, Markell will talk about her
own experiences filming with actors Bryce Dallas Howard,
Ann Margaret, and Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn.
2005 Maggie and Big Daddy
Performing scenes from several of the playwright’s great
Delta plays in Whiteside Hall following the keynote address
will be veteran New York theatre professionals Erma Duricko,
Timothy Brown, and Marissa Duricko of Blue Roses Productions,
and Jeff Glickman from the Pensacola Little Theatre.
Offering insights and commentary on their readings
and the movie, the festival’s panel of scholars headed
by English professor Colby Kullman, moderator, includes
professors Ann Fisher-Wirth and Ralph Voss; theatrical
producer Robert Canon; creative writer and John Grisham
fellow Anna Baker; and film critic and screenwriter
The literary conference will also present a paper
by graduate student Robert Rae exploring Delta Italians
in the Williams drama: Orpheus Descending.
Friday night’s “Meet and Greet” celebrity reception
at the historic Clark House will showcase the gourmet
Southern cuisine of CCC Chef Robert Rhymes and his culinary
students; live drama, music by Daddy Rich, Jeff Glickman,
and the award-winning Coahoma Men’s Ensemble singing
gospel and soul selections and directed by Kelvin Towers.
The elite Student Drama Competition takes over Saturday
morning in the Civic Auditorium with fledgling Mississippi
actors presenting monologues, scenes, and Stella shouts
for $3,000 in prize money donated by Coahoma Community
College for their school drama departments.
Erma Duricko will conduct an acting workshop, and
Jodie Markell will talk about careers in theatre and
Opening Saturday afternoon’s events will be an organ
recital at St. George’s Episcopal Church presented by
Jay Westerfaul, the new church organist.
Visitors are invited to tour the church office and
former rectory – a National Literary Landmark – and
also to attend an open house with refreshments hosted
by the Clarksdale Women’s Club across the street.
Williams Barr Porch Play
Porch plays with audiences seated in lawn chairs in the
historic district where Tom Williams spent his childhood
will begin at 2:30 p.m. and continue through 4:30 p.m.,
and a barbecue supper will be served at 5 p.m. in the
Student Competition winners will present their monologues
and scenes followed by commentary from the festival’s
theatre professionals, and exchanges among all groups.
The Eddie Lee Coleman Blues Band will kick off the
The festival is free and open to the public thanks to
funding from Coahoma Community College, the Mississippi
Arts Commission, the Mississippi Humanities Council, the
Rock River Foundation, the Coahoma County Tourism Commission,
Chamber of Commerce, Clarksdale Revitalization, Inc.,
area patrons: Fiser Insurance Agency, and the Hal Fiser
Agency, and an army of volunteers.
Reservations are required for the Friday luncheon
($12); Friday night reception ($25) and Saturday barbecue,
($12). For schedules, reservation forms, and more information,
view the festival website: www.coahomacc.edu/twilliams
or call CCC public relations at 662-621-4157. Donations