File Size: 1457 KB
Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: New Directions (April 17, 2008)
Publication Date: March 4, 2016
Yadah, Yadah, Yadah to fulfill the silly word count restrictions, A worthy read for anyone considering Tennessee Williams but otherwise, don't bother. " Bad Williams is better than others' good" is not true. He had written a lot of crummy stuff., This volume includes mostly later plays by Tennessee Williams, many published for the first time and many only recently performed. They are not his best, but worth looking at a high level00 student, enthusiast, or have a significant interest in Williams.
Perhaps the best play in the collection is "The Day on Which a Man Dies" (1957-1960). It shows the breakdown and end of any troubled artist, with well created dialogue. Williams developed this situation again in the 1969 play "In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel" (this is not mentioned in the notes); the Man and Woman in the earlier play become Mark and Miriam, the Japanese law student becomes a Japanese barman.
"The Parade, or Approaching the Finish of a Summer" (1940, 1962) is a poignant autobiographical piece depending on Williams' experience of falling in love in the summer time of 1940 in Provincetown (another theme that Williams took up again in a later play, "Something Cloudy, Something Clear"). The particular young woman with hallucinatory visions in "A Not so serious for Milady" recalls Williams' sister Rose and Laura in "The Glass Menagerie, " but the outrageous and funny elements in this play counteract the sadness of her situation. "The Traveling Companion" reflects Williams' relationships with sometimes meretricious younger men.
This particular collection includes avant-garde and experimental pieces which are harder to digest than the famous and successful plays of the 1950s, and some individuals will find them bewildering. There is more open cruelty and brutality and little or no plot line or character development. "The Remarkable Rooming-house of Mme. The Monde" is freakish and disturbing, with plenty of shock value and smooth, nihilistic, id-driven characters. The particular landlady's name suggests that this rooming-house (we see an eerie room with hooks) represents the world. This play might be hard to watch in performance. "Kirche, Kü che, Kinder" is a more successful exploration of the absurd; it subverts religion and family values (but not cooking, as the title might lead you to believe); it is campy, amusing, and outrageous, and performs creatively with language.
"The Chalky White Substance" is a truly frightening piece set in a future world after having a major nuclear war. Williams was as perceptive and honest as Dostoevsky or Freud in looking evil and the darkest aspects of human nature squarely in the face. The notes in the front endpaper of the book (it's not clear who wrote them) suggest that the play "Will Mr. Merriwether Return from Memphis? " is a self-parody; I have to disagree. It shows that Williams, even in his later period, had not lost his romanticism.
The particular notes to the performs are informative and delightful, since some of the previous volumes of Williams published by New Directions include little or no information about the genesis of the plays or manuscripts. There are a few omissions and errors. Jackson Pollock's name should be spelled, well, Pollock.
While not Williams' best, these performs give us a fuller picture of his extraordinary creative imagination and imagination. Most of them have occasions that shine with the feature Tennessee Williams gold. It can good to see them get into print. A few hope that New Directions continues to publish the still unpublished Williams materials. You can find probably still many small unpublished gems waiting around for readers and audiences.
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