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Book Title: The Theatre of Tennessee Williams, Vol. 6: 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and Other Short Plays|
The author of the book: Tennessee Williams
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 866 KB
Edition: New Directions
Date of issue: September 17th 1992
ISBN 13: 9780811212151
Read full description of the books The Theatre of Tennessee Williams, Vol. 6: 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and Other Short Plays:Think of all the oddly placed Shakespeare adaptations -- Richard III in a 1930s Fascist state: Romeo and Juliet in a modern day South Beach, or on NY's upper west side; The Tempest in space (Forbidden Planet); Macbeth in feudal Japan (Throne of Blood). And that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of odd off-Broadway productions where the director had an "idea." Many of these are truly awful, but for some reason it's tremendously easy to imagine Shakespeare in other places and at other times.
Which gets me to Tennessee Williams. I tend to like him. But reading these one act plays, for some reason it struck me how bound they seem to be to the American South in the blues/jazz era. That's how particular his work seems to me. When I think of his plays, I feel sweat. I see beads of water rolling down the outside of a glass with some sickly sweet liquor in it. Everything is both languid and intense. His characters tend to cry out for more shade.
The plays here are one acts. They came across to me as sketches, usually character sketches. And there's nothing wrong with that. There were at least three, and maybe more, takes on Blanche Dubois, refracted in different ways. For the most part, these plays seemed more like character reveals than truly dramatic. I may have been missing something, and might think differently about them if I saw them performed. But I didn't see all that much in the way of motion or momentum in the majority of them. And the characters, for the most part, seemed to me like revamps of characters I had already seen in his other plays. Thus, reading them didn't do all that much for me. But then again, reading really is a bad way to get introduced to plays. The sad thing is that there is basically little, or no, opportunity to see any of these things performed. That I would probably like.
Read information about the authorThomas Lanier Williams III, better known by the nickname Tennessee Williams, was a major American playwright of the twentieth century who received many of the top theatrical awards for his work. He moved to New Orleans in 1939 and changed his name to "Tennessee," the state of his father's birth. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. In addition, The Glass Menagerie (1945) and The Night of the Iguana (1961) received New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards. His 1952 play The Rose Tattoo (dedicated to his lover, Frank Merlo), received the Tony Award for best play.
Characters in his plays are often seen as representations of his family members. Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie was understood to be modeled on Rose. Some biographers believed that the character of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire is also based on her.
Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie was generally seen to represent Williams' mother, Edwina. Characters such as Tom Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie and Sebastian in Suddenly, Last Summer were understood to represent Williams himself. In addition, he used a lobotomy operation as a motif in Suddenly, Last Summer.
The Pulitzer Prize for Drama was awarded to A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. These two plays were later filmed, with great success, by noted directors Elia Kazan (Streetcar) with whom Williams developed a very close artistic relationship, and Richard Brooks (Cat). Both plays included references to elements of Williams' life such as homosexuality, mental instability, and alcoholism. Although The Flowering Peach by Clifford Odets was the preferred choice of the Pulitzer Prize jury in 1955 and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was at first considered the weakest of the five shortlisted nominees, Joseph Pulitzer Jr., chairman of the Board, had seen Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and thought it worthy of the drama prize. The Board went along with him after considerable discussion.
Williams wrote The Parade, or Approaching the End of a Summer when he was 29 and worked on it sporadically throughout his life. A semi-autobiographical depiction of his 1940 romance with Kip Kiernan in Provincetown, Massachusetts, it was produced for the first time on October 1, 2006 in Provincetown by the Shakespeare on the Cape production company, as part of the First Annual Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival.
Other works by Williams include Camino Real and Sweet Bird of Youth.
His last play went through many drafts as he was trying to reconcile what would be the end of his life. There are many versions of it, but it is referred to as In Masks Outrageous and Austere.
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