Our Lady of Good Counsel Graduate Kathleen Klatte’s dream to be on stage comes true. She will appear as Aunt Nonnie in the Town Players of New Canaan’s production of Tennessee Williams’ powerful drama Sweet Bird of Youth which will play Friday & Saturday, May 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 & 19 at 8PM and Sundays, May 6 & 13 at 2:30 PM at the Powerhouse Theatre, Waveny Park, New Canaan
“And the whole meaning of all my work is that there is no such thing as complete right and complete wrong, complete black, complete white. That we’re all in the same boat and really the boat is the world, you might even say it’s the universe.”
-- Tennessee Williams, from a December 1961 WFMT radio interview with Studs Terkel—
When the lights come up on Tennessee Williams’ powerful drama Sweet Bird of Youth, Chance Wayne, an actor whose career has hit the skids, has become a beach boy and been picked up in Palm Beach by fading movie star Alexandra Del Lago, who is travelling incognita as Princess Kosmonopolis. Now her gigolo/caregiver, Chance takes Princess to St. Cloud, his home town, so that he can reunite with the love of his life Heavenly, daughter of Boss Finley, and also boast to all that Princess is sponsoring his movie comeback.
Gary Battaglia, who is directing the Town Players of New Canaan’s production of Sweet Bird, believes, “Williams is the quintessential American playwright and his play is about loss of youthful beauty and innocence and the effect this loss has on all the characters; as Williams says in the play, ‘that bird that sails away with your youth.’ Most people look back at innocence and everyone has sadness in their lives. He treats our vulnerabilities in ways that are more identifiable and brings his plays closer to real people. His characters are representative of life, not larger than life as are those of Eugene O’Neill. They are tremendous characters. The audience will see themselves in Sweet Bird of Youth. I don’t see how anybody will not relate to the show.”
One of those characters is Aunt Nonnie, a poignant and brave woman who has championed her niece’s boyfriend Chance Wayne since he was a boy and who also has the courage to contradict her dead sister’s husband, Boss Finley and stand up for her niece Heavenly. Playing Aunt Nonnie in the Town Players’ production of Sweet Bird of Youth will be Kathleen Klatte. Born and raised in Yonkers, Kathleen has loved costumes and music ever since she was a little girl. With no after school children’s theatre programs available when she was a youngster attending elementary school at St. Anthony’s School in Yonkers, followed by high school at Our Lady of Good Counsel in White Plains, Kathleen became a competitive figure skater.
As an adult, Kathleen became aware of the New York Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo Park, New York and met “incredible people who encouraged me to take acting lessons and audition for the Faire.” Heeding their advice, Kathleen took acting workshops offered by the SUNY Purchase School of Liberal Studies and Continuing Education, enabling her to audition for the Faire. A delightful woman, Kathleen describes her first role, a Villager, as “wearing beat up clothes, crawling around in the dirt in the Shire of Sterling during the reign of Elizabeth I, and being funny.” Her favorite roles have been Matty Ratty accompanied by her life size rat puppet Basil Ratbone (2011), town seamstress Gwendolyn Stichit (2010), and somewhat like Kath who owns nine cats, crazy cat lady Tabby Calico (2009).
But for those months when the Renaissance Faire was not in rehearsal or in session, Kathleen yearned to learn more and expand her work in the theatre. After the Faire closed for the season in 2010, she heard through a friend about the Town Players of New Canaan, the first community theatre group she has been involved with. An observant and precise person, Kathleen was asked to stage manage Love, Sex and the I.R.S, TPNC’s winter 2011 show, and she thought she “might be good at it.” An understatement! That spring, she stage managed The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and “paid attention” to master director Lynne Bolton for whom she stage managed Amadeus this past fall when she also appeared as Teresa Salieri. “‘Twas quite a feat dashing back and forth between the stage and the stage manager’s desk--and also squashing my hoop skirt into the confined stage manager space!” Finally, after years of hard work and preparation, Kathleen Klatte will appear on stage in a theatre in a speaking role under the skilled direction of Gary Battaglia. Working on stage with Michael Kopko, who plays Boss, Kathleen says, “is so intimidating he gives you something to work against!”