Camino Real

ISBN-10: 0811218066

ISBN-13: 9780811218061

Edition: 2008

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Description:

The acclaimed classic in a new edition, now with a new introduction, the author's original foreword and afterword, the one-act play10 Blocks on the Camino Real, plus an essay by noted Tennessee Williams scholar, Michael Paller. In this phantasmagorical play, the Camino Real (pronounciation:Ca-mino Real) is a long highway, a dead end, a police state in a vaguely Latin American country, a nightmare, and an inescapable condition. Characters from history and literature--Don Quixote, Casanova, Camille, Lord Byron--inhabit a place where corruption, starvation, indifference and greed have immobilized anyone who tries to escape. Then, into this netherworld, the archetypal Kilroy arrives--a sailor and all-American guy with "a heart as big as the head of baby." Like others before him in the Camino Real, Kilroy is robbed, conned, turned into a patsy, and he very nearly breaks...but not quite. When this experimental epic opened on Broadway in 1953, it confounded the critics, but not the audiences. The play's iconic/ironic humor, playful conceits, and towering concerns about society's demand for conformity, the courage of the artist, and the power of compassion have made it a classic.
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Book details

List price: $13.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 10/31/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 176
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.484
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.

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