Traveling Companion and Other Plays

ISBN-10: 0811217086

ISBN-13: 9780811217088

Edition: 2008

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Description: 12 previously uncollected experimental shorter plays:The Chalky White Substance • The Day on Which a Man Dies (An Occidental Noh Play) • A Cavalier for Milady • The Pronoun "I" • The Remarkable Rooming House of Mme. LeMonde • Kirche, Kche, Kinder (An Outrage for the Stage) • Green Eyes • The Parade • The One Exception • Sunburst • Will Mr. Merriwether Return from Memphis? • The Traveling Companion Even with his great commercial success, Tennessee Williams always considered himself an experimental playwright. In the last 25 years of his life his explorations increasedespecially in shorter forms and one-act playsas Williams created performance pieces with elements of theater of the absurd, theater of cruelty, theater of the ridiculous, as well as motifs from Japanese forms such as Noh and Kabuki, high camp and satire, and with innovative visual and verbal styles that were entirely his own. Influenced by Beckett, Genet, and Pinter, among others, Williams worked hard to expand the boundaries of the lyric realism he was best known for. These plays were explicitly intended to be performed off-off Broadway or regionally. Sometimes disturbing, sometimes outrageous, quite often the tone of these plays is rough, bawdy or even cartoonish. While a number of these plays employ what could be termed bizarre "happy endings," others gaze unblinkingly into the darkness. Though several of Williams' lesser-known works from this period have already been published by New Directions, these twelve plays have never been collected. Most of these shorter plays are unknown to audiences and scholarssome are published here for the first timeyet all of them embrace, in one way or another, whatTimemagazine called "the four major concerns that have spurred Williams' dramatic imagination: loneliness, love, the violated heart and the valiancy of survival."

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Book details

List price: $17.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 4/17/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 352
Size: 5.00" wide x 8.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.836
Language: English

After O'Neill, Williams is perhaps the best dramatist the United States has yet produced. Born in his grandfather's rectory in Columbus, Mississippi, Williams and his family later moved to St. Louis. There Williams endured many bad years caused by the abuse of his father and his own anguish over his introverted sister, who was later permanently institutionalized. Williams attended the University of Missouri, and, after time out to clerk for a shoe company and for his own mental breakdown, also attended Washington University of St. Louis and the University of Iowa, from which he graduated in 1938. Williams began to write plays in 1935. During 1943 he spent six months as a contract screenwriter for MGM but produced only one script, The Gentleman Caller. When MGM rejected it, Williams turned it into his first major success, The Glass Menagerie (1945). In this intensely autobiographical play, Williams dramatizes the story of Amanda, who dreams of restoring her lost past by finding a gentleman caller for her crippled daughter, and of Amanda's son Tom, who longs to escape from the responsibility of supporting his mother and sister. After The Glass Menagerie,Williams wrote his masterpiece, A Streetcar Named Desire, (1947), along with a steady stream of other plays, among them such major works as Summer and Smoke(1948), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1954), and Suddenly Last Summer (1958). His plays celebrate the "fugitive kind," the sensitive outcasts whose outsider status allows them to perceive the horror of the world and who often give additional witness to that horror by becoming its victims. Stephen S. Stanton has summed up Williams's "virtues and strengths" as "a genius for portraiture, particularly of women, a sensitive ear for dialogue and the rhythms of natural speech, a comic talent often manifesting itself in "black comedy,' and a genuine theatrical flair exhibited in telling stage effects attained through lighting, costume, music, and movements." After The Night of the Iguana (1961), Williams continued to write profusely---and constantly to revise his work---but it became more difficult to get productions of his plays and, if they were produced, to win critical or popular acclaim for them. Williams won the Pulitzer Prize for drama for A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for these two and for The Glass Menagerie and The Night of the Iguana.

The Chalky White Substance
The Day on Which a Man Dies
A Cavalier for Milady
The Pronoun 'I'
The Remarkable Rooming-House of Mme. Le Monde
Kirche, Kuche, Kinder
Green Eyes
The Parade
The One Exception
Sunburst
Will Mr. Merriwether Return from Memphis?
The Traveling Companion
Sources and Notes on the Text
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