Tennessee Williams

Why is this Tennessee Williams play so rarely performed?

As the London premiere of ‘A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur’ takes place, director Michael Oakley talks about the lesser known works of Tennessee Williams and the similarities between this and the playwright’s other works

 

Kingdom of Earth, Print Room, London

"Baby, you got a mother complex and I'm gonna make you forget it," the vivacious Myrtle, with a can-do waggle of her lime-green thighs, informs her droopy husband of two days in Lucy Bailey's brilliant, blackly wacky and sometimes tenderly hilarious revival of this Tennessee Williams rarity from 1967. Alas, Myrtle would have about as much luck weaning Norman Bates off his mother as reorient the ailing, secretly TB-ridden and maternally fixated Lot who has inherited the piss-elegant, antique-filled home where mummy and he used to preen preciously as a two-person-band against the rednecks endemic in this district of the Mississippi Delta.

A Cavalier for Milady, Cock Tavern, London

The new Cock's old cock Tennessee Williams season has comprised two short world premieres: one early, and now one late; A Cavalier for Milady, thought to have been written around 1979, is the only published Williams play remaining hitherto unperformed, a real collector's item, and infinitely worth seeing.

The Glass Menagerie, Young Vic, London

"The scene is memory and is therefore non-realistic. Memory takes a lot of poetic license," writes Tennessee Williams in his introductory stage direction to the 1944 play that propelled him into the major league of American dramatists. Joe Hill-Gibbins takes him at his word in this magnificent production, a revival that is as conceptually fresh as it is emotionally devastating.

Independent Classical podcast: Dario Marianelli/Young Vic

Dario Marianelli won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his score for the movie Atonement and his return to the theatre after a long absence as composer for the Young Vic's new production of Tennessee Williams' first big Broadway success The Glass Menagerie is hotly anticipated.

Opening Doors And Windows, By James Roose-Evans

The theatre world is littered with self-styled gurus and shamans, but it is rare to find a director who is also an Anglican priest. In this charming and insightful memoir, 82-year-old James Roose-Evans takes us on a spiritual and creative journey from his literally tortured adolescence (he was prone to self-flagellation) to the twin heights of ordination in Hereford cathedral and Broadway success.

Spring Storm, Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton

It's a troubling April down on the Delta, where the river is rising, and the blood too. "The crape myrtle's been out a week," says the genteel Mrs. Critchfeld. "I always start to wear white when the crape myrtle's out." Her daughter, however, worries she may never wear get to wear white and toss a bouquet. One of Tennessee Williams's high-strung beauties who are half spinster, half sexpot, Heavenly Critchfield is sleeping with the virile, shiftless Dick but tempted by the rich, repressed Arthur (a nice reversal of the traditional dilemma). The quartet of restive youth is completed by the librarian Hertha Neilson, "the most sensitive and intelligent person in Port Arthur, Mississippi", where teenagers she catches necking in the stacks laugh at her and call her an old maid.

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