Williams’ plays have held pride of place in theater goers’ hearts for so long is another matter. Yes, the dialog is a thrilling mixture of the perfectly colloquial and the poetic. Yes, the passions on display in works like The Rose Tattoo, The Glass Menagerie and, of course, A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof are as blistering as those given voice by any other American dramatist, while the characters Williams brought to life remain, for many of us, as indelible as members of our own families. In the end, though, the appeal and the power of Williams’ very best plays might reside in this: that he manages, somehow, to peel back layer after layer from his characters as the story rolls on, and rather than diminishing these men and women in our eyes, the gradually unfolding revelations — and the playwright’s clear-eyed compassion for his own creations — ennoble and humanize them. Stanley, Blanche and Stella; Maggie the Cat, Brick and Big Daddy; Amanda Wingfield in Menagerie and Serafina in The Rose Tattoo — these and so many other Williams characters are profoundly Continue reading
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