Night of the Iguana

ISBN-10: 0822208237

ISBN-13: 9780822208235

Edition: N/A

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Description: THE STORY: John McClain's outline of Within the brokendown environs of a cheap Mexican resort hotel [Williams] has created a mood of pervading loneliness and despair as intrusive as the Equinoxial storm that stirs sudden lightning flashes and gushes through the tattered room. The desolation, the emptiness are in his people: the tough, sex-starved widow who runs the hotel; the neurotic, defrocked minister, and the gentle maiden lady from New England. Thrown together in this squalid setting their human needs become explicit, and from their conflicts comes the realization that life must be endured, and that the spirit will somehow survive even beyond the limits of anguish. Mr. Williams veers off in many philosophic directions in this searing pastorale, but he is chiefly concerned with the relationship of the Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon and Miss Hannah Jelkes, the sad, fortyish lady who travels the world with her grandfather ('the oldest practicing poet in the world'), painting quick portraits, for a fee, while the nonagenarian recites poetry to hotel guests. Rev. Shannon, having been relieved of his cloth for sexual irregularities, has landed at the Costa Verde hotel, near Acapulco, on the verge of one of his periodic mental breakdowns. The proprietress, an old friend, is prepared to offer him a bed and will, in fact, share it with him if he wishes. But then Miss Jelkes and her grandpa arrive, penniless but prepared to offer their services to the guests in return for lodging. There is a strange and immediate rapport between the discredited cleric and the lonely artist. The play's most poignant moments—scenes of enormous compassion—grow out of the understanding of these two people, their mutual need for companionship and roots, their final moments of nobility in small gestures of unselfishness to aid one another.

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Book details

List price: $9.00
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/1/1963
Binding: Paperback
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.440
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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