Creators

DOUG TOMPOS  (Writer and performer) began his career in New York, where his acting credits include the original Broadway production of City of Angels and the Off-Broadway hits Forever Plaid and Jeffrey.  While in New York , he also authored and starred in Dan Quayle: In His Own Words, a political satire which he performed to benefit E.F.A./Broadway Cares.  He has worked in regional theaters across the country, and since moving to Los Angeles has appeared in Angels In America at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, Mourning Becomes Electra at A Noise Within, A Doll’s House at the Ensemble Theatre Company, Of Mice and Men at South Coast Repertory, Deathtrap, The Man Who Came To Dinner and Dracula at the Grove Theater Center, End of the World Party at the Celebration Theater (DramaLogue Award), and A Chorus Line  and The Rocky Horror Show at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle.  Most recently, he played a starring role in the feature film Being Michael Madsen, due for release in 2007.  His other film and television appearances include roles on “Close to Home”, “The West Wing”, “Frasier”, “Angel”, “High Incident”, and “Babylon 5”; the feature films The Sleepwalker Killing , The Ultimate Lie, and October 22; and the award-winning short films Winged and Positive, among others.  He is a graduate of Syracuse University ’s Professional Actor’s Training Program and has also studied at The Banff Centre of Fine Arts in Canada and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.  He continues to work with Diana Castle in Los Angeles.

MICHAEL MICHETTI (Director) is the Co-Artistic Director of The Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena, where he has directed his own adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s A Picture of Dorian Gray (Five Ovation Nominations including World Premiere Play for Michetti’s adaptation, and Set Design for his design), Sinan Ünel’s Pera Palas (Four L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards including Production and Direction; Ovation Nominations for Best Play, Best Director of a Play), Charles L. Mee’s Summertime, and its inaugural production of Romeo and Juliet: Antebellum New Orleans, 1836.   

A director of plays and musicals, new works and classics, his diverse credits include: the celebrated production of Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents' Anyone Can Whistle (incorporating revisions made by Michetti and approved by the authors) at the Matrix Theatre; As You Like It at A Noise Within; David Hare's Amy's View starring Carol Lawrence at Florida Rep; David Mamet's A Life in the Theatre starring Hal Holbrook at the Pasadena Playhouse; the world premiere of Ouroboros by Tom Jacobson (LA Weekly Award - Production of the Year); acclaimed productions of Brecht's rarely staged Edward II and Aphra Behn's restoration comedy The Rover, both for Circle X; the world premiere of Sheila Callaghan's Crawl, Fade to White at Theatre of NOTE; and the Ovation-nominated productions of Titanic for Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities and Sweeney Todd starring Amanda McBroom and George Ball. He is a double Ovation Award winner (as director and co-producer) for his production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, set in British colonized India.

Michetti has received numerous theatre honors including Ovation, Los Angeles Drama Critics' Circle, L.A. Weekly, Back Stage West Garland, and Drama-Logue Awards, among others.

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Tennessee Williams and Hart Crane…  

Hart Crane, (1899-1932), published only two volumes of poetry during his lifetime, but those works established Crane as one of the most original and vital American poets of the 20th Century.  His extraordinarily complex poetry, with its rich imagery, verbal ingenuity, and meticulous craftsmanship, curiously combined ecstatic optimism with a sense of haunted alienation.  An admirer of T. S. Eliot, Crane combined the influences of traditional European literature with a particularly American sensibility derived from Walt Whitman.  His first book, White Buildings (1926) included such notable poems as "Black Tambourines", "Voyages", and "For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen".  Crane’s personal life was anguished and turbulent.  After an unhappy childhood during which he was torn between estranged parents, he held a variety of uninteresting jobs, always, however, returning to New York City and his writing.  An alcoholic and a homosexual, he was constantly plagued by money problems and was often a severe trial to friends who tried to help him.  In 1931 he won a Guggenheim Fellowship and went to Mexico to write.  However, he produced only one memorable poem there, "The Broken Tower", and suffered a prolonged bout of drinking and depression.  Returning to New York City by boat, on April 27, 1932, he leaped overboard and was drowned.  His collected poems were published in 1933.  

Tennessee Williams, (1911-1983), an accomplished poet himself, became one of America’s foremost playwrights, achieving his first successes with the productions of The Glass Menagerie (1945) and A Streetcar Named Desire (1947, Pulitzer Prize).  An eloquently symbolic poet of the theater, he is noted for his scenes of high dramatic tension and for brilliant dialogue.  He searched for truth in his writing, if not always a strict adherence to reality, creating a poetic drama that explored the intense passions and frustrations of a disturbed and frequently brutal society.  Determined to show the shadow and the light of humanity, or "both sides of the moon" as he called it, he was perhaps most successful in his portraits of hypersensitive and lonely Southern women, such as Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire.  Like Crane, his personal life was often anguished and turbulent.  The need to escape the smothering, Puritanical influence of his mother and the drunken abuse of his father fueled his early need to write and formed the basis of a lifelong dedication to his work.  

Though the two men never met, Williams was devoted to Crane’s poetry, often using it as a salve on the wounds of rejection and as inspiration to keep digging deeper in his work.  Crane’s photo, along with a picture of Anton Chekhov, Tennessee ’s other literary hero, always hung by Williams’ workplace wherever he traveled.  Williams also mentions Crane in his play The Night of the Iguana as his main characters discuss the "Blue Devils", Williams pet name for the psychological demons that not only plague his characters but which also plagued both Crane and Williams himself.  

Ultimately, Crane succumbed to his demons, but Williams, perhaps through the example of Crane’s life, found the courage, humor and determination to carry on, to keep searching for the light.  Williams’ belief, expressed in his play Battle of Angels, that "we are all of us trapped inside our own skins, condemned to solitary confinement", was somehow balanced by Crane’s observation that "Those who have wept in the darkness sometimes are rewarded with stray leaves blown inadvertently."  Or, as Tennessee put it, by "the kindness of strangers."  

Based on events described in Williams’ essay “The Catastrophe of Success”, Bent to the Flame uses Crane’s poetry and Williams’ personal anecdotes and comments on the work to explore the nature of creativity and the ‘simpatico’ between the personal and professional lives of these two artists.