hBCfa1iukGBwozQJhUdYurhnmH957fN3oxQt_iLjGHMThe Atlanta Ballet will present the world premiere of Camino Real, based on the play by Tennessee Williams, on  March 20-22 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center.

The new ballet is the work of the company’s resident choreographer, Helen Pickett, with an original score by Peter Salem, performed live by the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra.

The story is told from the perspective of Kilroy, an American visitor who arrives in a surreal Spanish-speaking seaport and finds a myriad of strange, literary characters.

Pickett said her father gave her copy of Williams’ play and suggested that it might make a good ballet. She was at first skeptical, but subsequent readings and an immersion into the world of the playwright’s other work, letters and biographies convinced her that Camino Real just might work.

“Tennessee’s characters are formidable, as in awe-inspiring; human beings in full bloom, spanning the emotional spectrum,” Pickett said, noting that the town of Camino Real was also a puzzle to solve.

Pickett decided to use Havana, Cuba as a design influence to anchor the characters, which also include literary characters Esmeralda, Marguerite Gautier, Jacques Casanova and Lord Byron.

Pickett said: “I decided to make the characters the tangible and concrete aspects. I felt their ‘realness’ and knew this was where it would not be surreal. I also conflated and cut some characters. I did this so I could tell the story in the way I understood it. I ground my retelling in the romantic aspect. These characters are all speaking of love and justice and the will to live and love a free life. That is how I interpreted it. Then Tennessee has built beautiful power struggles between good and evil, which define many good stories.”

To purchase tickets, visit atlantaballet.com or call (404) 892-3303.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.