The Crass Menagerie

by Natasha Wolff | November 7, 2013 7:57 pm

The Glass Menagerie might be burning up Broadway with critically lauded performances from Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto, but further downtown a far less well-known Tennessee Williams work, The Mutilated, is receiving a similarly magnificent revival.

The Mutilated charts a 1940s Christmas Eve in a down-and-out corner of New Orleans, where heiress and cancer survivor Trinket Dugan (Mink Stole, the John Waters muse) and her erstwhile pal, the jailbird hooker Celeste Delacroix Griffin (the performance artist and former Warhol star Penny Arcade) are holed up in a seedy hotel.

DuJour spoke to Stole about the role, why she loves Williams and what her dream role is.

How did you come to this production?

The production actually came to me. A couple of years ago I did a play with the Tennessee Williams Festival in Provincetown, which David Kaplan curates. He called me again about doing this particular play at this year’s festival. I was inclined to do it so he sent me a copy of the script, but I realized I had read the play before back in the early 1970s and I still had it. The more I read, the more I loved it and so I jumped at the chance.

When The Mutilated was originally staged in 1966, it was part of a night billed as “Slapstick Tragedy.” Is that an apt description?

I think it is. What I say to myself is that Celeste is the slapstick and Trinket is the tragedy. Though they both have aspects of both, really.

The last Williams you did was Now The Cats With Jewelled Claws, which started at the Provincetown festival and then moved Off-Broadway. What’s the appeal of these lesser-known Williams shows?

Now The Cats is a play I never really understood. It’s so non-linear; I did it because it was Williams, and who doesn’t want to do a play in Provincetown and then again in New York? It had a lot of things going for it, but I never really did get the play. The appeal of The Mutilated is that I love Trinket, I just adore her. I think she’s a real character who suffers real pain and is very complicated. It’s a juicy role!

Have you been to see the much-ballyhooed Broadway production of The Glass Menagerie that’s running now?

I haven’t. I didn’t get a chance to see it before and now I may not because I’m also on stage every night. If I can see it, I will.

You should! I thought it was great.

Yes, everyone says it’s the second coming. I saw Cherry Jones in The Heiress years ago and I think she’s just amazing.

Why do you think our Williams obsession tends to never go far beyond his best-known work?

For one thing, movies were made from his iconic works so people are familiar. But take Cat on a Hot Tin Roof—it’s a linear story and it’s easy to follow. You can have sympathy for Maggie or Brick. With a lot of the later works, they’re abstract. The Mutilated does actually tell a story.

You’ve said this is a role you’ve been prepping for your entire life.

I do feel like I was born to play Trinket. She incorporates so much of the female experience; I’m a woman who lives alone—I’m not rich and friendless like she is—but I’ve created my own life. I’ve never lost a breast but I did have a hysterectomy, so I identify with having that feminine essence taken away. I’ve also had friendships with people that were dysfunctional, though maybe not in this level. I understand a lot of what this character goes through on my own personal level.

What’s your favorite of his work?

I do love Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; I’m too old for Maggie but I would play Big Mama.



A Rising (But Not Quite Shooting) Star[1]
Sebastian Arcelus on ‘A Time to Kill’[2]
Big Fish: A Musical With Mythical Proportions[3]

  1. A Rising (But Not Quite Shooting) Star:
  2. Sebastian Arcelus on ‘A Time to Kill’:
  3. Big Fish: A Musical With Mythical Proportions:

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