The Gnädiges Fräulein

by Tennessee Williams

Second Stage at The Adrienne Theater
March 17 - April 3, 2010
Directed by Tina Brock
Kelly Vrooman
Leah Walton*
Permanent Transient
John D’Alonzo
Indian Joe
Jaime Pannone
The Gnädiges Fräulein
Jane Moore*
Cocaloony Bird
Lee Pucklis
*Member Actors Equity Association


Tina Brock

Costume Design

Brian Strachan

Lighting Design

Joshua Schulman

Set Design

Lisi Stoessel

Sound Design

Tina Brock

Technical Director

Bob Schmidt

Stage Manager/Board Operator

Jesse Delaney

Assistant Set Designer

Emma Ferguson

Assistant Costumer

Rob Paluso


Rufus Cottman

Cocaloony Head Piece Draper

Melanie Miles Stanton

Wig Designers

Rob Paluso, and Melanie Miles Stanton

Costume Construction

Cassie Eckermann, Stephen Smith and Angela Guthmiller


Johanna Austin /

Presented by arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., on behalf of The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee


This production is made possible by a generous grant from The Philadelphia Cultural Fund.


The IRC is a 501C3 non-profit corporation.


The IRC participates in the Barrymore Awards Honoring Excellence in Theater.


Playing time is 65 minutes; there will be no intermission.



The Gnadiges Fraulein by Tennessee Williams (2010)

"The overall effect creates a world so bizarre that if the show lasted more than 65 minutes, I would’ve needed a road map to return to reality."
Jim Rutter, Broad Street Review

"...the accomplished cast goes at it full-tilt."
David Fox, Stage Magazine

Director's Notes

March, 2010

Greetings and welcome to Cocaloony Key, “…a little bit of heaven dropped from the sky one day.”

The Gnädiges Fräulein, written in 1965, is translated from German as "The Gracious Lady” and marked a startling departure in the work of Tennessee Williams.  It debuted on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre on February 22, 1966 as part of a double-bill of one-act plays written by Williams titled Slapstick Tragedy (the other being The Mutilated.)

On first read, many images came to mind – the Wizard of OZ, the Carol Burnett show, Warner Brothers Roadrunner cartoons, films by Tim Burton (and David Lynch), I Love Lucy. With that conglomeration of genres and ideas in tow, we set out to uncover the island of Cocaloony Key.  The process provided many laughs, hours of interesting discussion and conjured memories of childhood fishing trips with my brothers.

The books and articles devoted to the merits and shortcomings of Gnadiges are far more in number than actual productions of the play itself.  The lively discussion on the play’s merits that accompanied its debut led me to investigate further.  Allean Hale of The Provincetown Theatre Festival writes, “(many researchers) saw Gnadiges as an allegory on the tragicomic subject of human existence….the play defies description…it seems autobiographical, for the Fraulein’s declining career is a fantasy version of the playwright’s own. The text can interpreted as Williams’ disillusioned view of the Theatre, with Molly as producer/director, Polly as the media, and Indian Joe as Hollywood, exploiting sex-as-commerce, and the Fraulein as the Artist under attack by the critics--the Cocaloonies.

Looking ahead to September 2010 and the upcoming Philadelphia Live Arts and Fringe Festival, the IRC will serve up The Empire Builders by Boris Vian, French novelist and playwright, jazz connoisseur and critic, Dixieland trumpeter and composer of more than 400 songs.  As a writer, Vian's collected works amount to more than 50 volumes. Vian is best remembered for his novels L'écume des jours (1947), adapted for film with the strange English title Spray of the Days (1968), directed by Charles Belmont.  This work was also adapted for the opera (1981) by Russian composer Edison DenisovJ'irai cracher sur vos tombes (1946), (I Spit on Your Graves), was another of Vian’s writings that garnered attention; Vian died in a Parisian cinema at age 39 while watching a preview of the film adaptation of I Spit on Your Graves.

The Empire Builders (Les Bâtisseurs d'Empire ou le Schmurz, 1959) follows the antics of a family whose new apartment is invaded by a terrifying noise.  First staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1962, and then in New York in 1968, look for the IRC’s production of The Empire Builders this September at Walnut Street Theater Studio 5.

Thanks for helping us excavate these seldom-seen works.  Your support, through ticket sales and tax-deductible contributions, keeps our tiny IRC island afloat.  We are most appreciative, and hope you’ll pass along the word to a few good friends.

For now, thanks for sharing your time with us.

Tina Brock
Artistic Director