Dark at the Top of the Stairs

ISBN-10: 0822202719
ISBN-13: 9780822202714
Edition: N/A
Authors: William Inge
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Description: THE STORY: Oppenheimer: In this latest play Mr. Inge has taken us back to the early 1920s and into the home of the Flood family in a small Oklahoma town. Here we find Rubin, a traveling salesman for a harness firm, Cora his sensitive and lovely  More...

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Book details

List price: $9.00
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/1/1960
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 78
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.198
Language: English

THE STORY: Oppenheimer: In this latest play Mr. Inge has taken us back to the early 1920s and into the home of the Flood family in a small Oklahoma town. Here we find Rubin, a traveling salesman for a harness firm, Cora his sensitive and lovely wife, Sonny their little boy and Reenie their teen-age daughter... The plot of Mr. Inge's comedy drama is less one story than a series of short stories-the fight between a husband and wife; the fear of an overly shy young girl on going to a dance; the problems of an introverted little boy who feels that the whole world, including his family is against him; the outwardly peaceful and inwardly corroding marriage of Cora's rowdy sister; the tragedy of a military school cadet whose mother has never provided him with a home and who suffers from the stigma of being a Jew in an alien community. What Mr. Inge is saying, with a power and tenderness of speech, is that there is dark at the top of everyone's stairs, but that it can be dissipated by understanding, by tolerance, by compassion and by the brand of companionship that demands not conformity but love...For Mr. Inge has made in his play a statement of faith for all people who, if they accepted it, would live in a far better world.

Inge was born in Independence, Kansas, attended the University of Kansas and Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee, and studied theater with Maude Adams at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. He taught drama for some years and then served as drama critic for the St. Louis Star Times before becoming a playwright. Come Back, Little Sheba (1950), his first success on Broadway, is about an aging couple, the wife clinging to the past, the husband an alcoholic. His next play was Picnic (1953, later revised as Summer Brave), about a virile young drifter and his effect on women in a small town. Bus Stop (1955) involves stranded people---each reveals his or her loneliness, and in the end an aspiring singer accepts the attention of a naive but rough cowboy. The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1958) portrays a frustrated family in which a stranger's suicide inspires a new understanding between the mother and father and more confidence on the part of the son and daughter. Inge was immensely popular in the 1950s. In most of his plays, the characters live a humdrum existence, usually in the Kansas-Oklahoma region of 50 years ago. Behind the naturalistic dialogue is an inner softness, and the main figures are prone to confession. His works have been called "psycho-dramas involving the solution of personal and social problems by introspection and togetherness" (Eric Mottram). Inge won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Picnic. The later part of Inge's career as a dramatist was not successful. He took his own life in 1973.

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