Tennessee Williams Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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Pugitive Kind. A third play, Not About Nightingales, wasabout to be done in 1938 when the group died of economic failure. In 1939,Williams, who by that time had dropped the Thomas Lanier, bundled upmost of his collected works, including a group of one-actors calledAmerican Blues, and shipped them off to the group theater contest. Thejudges- Harold Clurman, Irwin Shaw, and Molly Day Thacher- gave him aspecial award for ?A group of three sketches which constitute a full-lengthplay.? The most important part of the theater prize was that Williams gothimself an agent, Audrey Wood, who had faith in him, and worked hard forhim. The Glass Menagerie opened in Chicago on December 26, 1944, andin New York on March 31, 1945. The play ran for more than a year.Williams? career was a matter of

public record, he has averaged at least oneplay every two years: You Touched Me! (1945); A Streetcar Named Desire(1947); Summer And Smoke (1948); The Rose Tattoo (1951); Camino Real(1953); Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1955); Orpheus Descending (1957);Suddenly Last Summer (1958); Sweet Bird Of Youth (1959); Period OfAdjustment (1960); The Night Of The Iguana (1961); The Milk TrainDoesn?t Stop Here Anymore (1963- revised 1964); Slapstick Tragedy, adouble bill of the Emulated and the Gnadiges Fraulein (1966); TheTwo-Character Play (1967); Kingdom of Earth, called The Seven Descentsof Myrtle on Broadway (1968); In The Bar of a Tokyo Hotel (1969); SmallCraft Warnings (1972). The dates are those of the Broadway andoff-Broadway openings, except for Nightingale, which had only a

Summerproduction in Nyack, New York, and Two-Character, which played inLondon. Williams had many types of characters in his plays. His top oneswere the artist, the insane, the cripple, the sexual specialist, and theforeigner. Williams? ?artist? never needed to paint, write, or draw. Theywere known for their temperment. Some ?artists?, were Val in Battle ofAngels, Sebastian in Suddenly Last Summer, and Tom in The GlassMenagerie. ?Insane? is a dangerous category to try and define in Williams? plays,because as soon as the label ?insanity? is put on a character, the audiencewill think something is wrong with it, and keeps them preoccupied with thestage. Some of his most insane characters were Blanche in A StreetcarNamed Desire, Catherine in Suddenly Last Summer, and Shannon in

Iguana. The ?cripple? is another category that characters fall into when inWilliams? plays. Some may fit in with the ?insane? characters, becausefinding the line between mental and physical disturbances in a William?scharacter. Is Laura in The Glass Menagerie crippled by her limp, or hershyness? Is George?s tremor in Period of Adjustment in his head, or in hishands? It hardly matters since the diseases are as much metaphorical asthey are real. Lot?s tuberculosis in Kingdom of Earth, Mrs. Venable?sstroke in Suddenly Last Summer, and the fatal cancer or Jabe in Orpheus areall devices that help indicate that they are all special characters. The next ?character category? is the ?sexual specialist?. This categoryis hard to label because it has to take in such disparate characters.

Itincludes the virgins waiting to be initiated (Matilda in You Touched Me!,Alma in Summer and Smoke, Rose and Jack in The Rose Tattoo, Georgeand Isabel in Period of Adjustment), and those who have chosen chastity toescape corruption (Val in Orpheus, Brick in Cat); the professionals andthose amateurs so talented they could go professional (Val and Stanley in AStreetcar Named Desire, Chance Wayne in Sweet Bird, and Camille andCasanova in Camino Real); the homosexuals, explicit (Charles in CaminoReal, Sebastian in Suddenly Last Summer, Miss Fellowes in Iguana) andimplicit (Brick in Cat); those with a desperate need for sex as a stimulant ora punishment (Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, Maggie in Cat, Miriamin Tokyo Hotel). The thing that they all have in common is an

extremesensitivity. The ?foreigner?. Two thins are at work here, a fact and a myth. It isa fact of American society–at least of the small-town southern society intowhich Williams was born–that the foreigner, even when he ceases to beforeign, is an outsider. It is a myth, one from Northern Europe that waspassed on the the United States, that the Mediterranean peoples live richer,wilder, more open lives than the cold, closed northerners. Thus we haveRosa Gonzales and her father, the fiery Mexicans of Summer and Smoke;The wild Sicilians of The Rose Tattoo; the corruption of Camino Realwhich, according to a Williams stage director, recalls Tangiers, Havana,Vera Cruz, Casablanca, Shanghai, and New Orleans; the Italian lady ofOrpheus; the Sicilian with the riding crop of 27 Wagons