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Austin Pendleton Directs and Stars in Play about Lobotomies and Cannibalism

The acclaimed actor and director will play Dr. Cukrowicz in Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer, in addition to directing.

Austin Pendleton
© Tristan Fuge
All of your nightmares are about to come true: Drama Desk Award winner Austin Pendleton (Uncle Vanya) will direct and star in Mississippi Mud Productions' Suddenly Last Summer, set to play the Alexander Technique Center for Performance and Development February 9 through March 4.

Written by Tennessee Williams in 1957, Suddenly Last Summer is about Violet Venable, a wealthy woman who attempts to contract New Orleans psycho-surgeon Dr. Cukrowicz (Pendleton) to lobotomize her niece Catherine. Catherine accompanied Violet's late (gay) son Sebastian on a trip to Spain the previous summer where he was eaten by a gang of hungry Spaniards while attempting to woo them sexually. Now Catherine won't stop talking about it and Violet wants to stop her from besmirching Sebastian's memory. Are you scared yet? You should be...

Pendleton is no stranger to the dark side: he played an apartment-dwelling Egyptophile who enjoyed mummifying his elderly neighbors in the 1999 direct-to-video horror film The 4th Floor. (Here's the trailer, creepily enough only available in German.)

In addition to scaring the bejesus out of us, Pendleton is also an accomplished director whose most recent Off Broadway outing was Classic Stage Company's Ivanov starring Tony Award nominee Ethan Hawke (Coast of Utopia). A real Renaissance man of the stage (in fact, his special Drama Desk Award in 2007 was for being "A renaissance man of the American Theatre"), Pendleton also teaches.

Mississippi Mud Productions was founded in 2009 by alumni of Pendleton's advanced acting class at the Herbert Berghof Studio. Their previous productions include Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire and Pendleton's Orson's Shadow.

The rest of the cast includes Johanna Leister (Whose Life is it Anyway?), Jen Danby (Vivien Leigh: The Last Press Conference), and Maureen Mooney (Guiding Light).