A Slow Dissolve

Arches, Glasgow, Tue 21–Thu 23 Oct

Barry Henderson


Last year, Barry Henderson’s first play, the Edward Hopper-inspired A Pleasant Kind of Loneliness, impressed critics when it premiered at the Arches. A Slow Dissolve, his new commission from Glasgay!, could well be the sleeper star of Europe’s biggest gay-themed festival.

The solo work takes as its subject US playwright Tennessee Williams, whose powerful works, such as A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and internal wrangles over his sexuality and depression are the main focus for this year’s Glasgay! In exploring Williams’ recurring themes of madness, sexuality and gender, in an effort to provide a new perspective on his troubled life, Henderson is clearly fascinated by the enigmatic playwright: ‘Regardless of your sexuality, Tennessee Williams is fascinating. His characters are so well constructed and extremely difficult to get a hold of. They’ve got so many layers to them that you can spend hours trying to get into their minds.’

Yet, anyone seeking direct answers on Williams’ turbulent life from A Slow Dissolve could be disappointed, as Henderson makes no pledge to do so. Instead, he hopes audience and author will come to their conclusions together: ‘I’m hoping that what people will experience is an understanding of someone who is attempting to understand something about his relationship with madness, with homosexuality or just modern living. I don’t know if this show will answer any of those questions for people – I think I’m still attempting to find those answers myself.’

A Slow Dissolve

Barry Henderson takes a look, though the lens of Tennessee Williams, at the gay man's place in the modern world, which often hovers close to insanity. 'Part of Glasgay!'


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