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She could write. Adequately? Poorly?

How is this convincing? There is as much in here about Tennessee Williams' work as there is for an ad for Yuban coffee. And the bible is pretty convincing evidence of a beneficint god?

Posted by umvue | July 14, 2008 12:32 PM

Much of this is true and I doubt that Mr. Williams himself would argue. He was always aware of his success and, moreover, his need for success. I believe his downfall was mistaking voice for style. There is definitely a Tennessee Williams style of play: melodrama centered on a dysfunctional family and/or societal norms, and protagonists that resist them. He wrote his best plays in the 1940s and 50s, the Golden Age of Broadway theater when a play could pack a house just as much as a musical. For an artist, there seems to be a window of time when s/he attains a level of critical and commercial success that enables her/him to do anything, to take huge changes, and move the field in a new direction. When that window closes, it is because the artist -- or, more likely, the artist's patrons -- tries to recycle the elements of that success rather than reinvent and reinvigorate the work. This happened to Williams, and it happened to Arthur Miller. Their plays became rather formulaic. Edward Albee, on the other hand, has always pushed in new directions and remains one of the most daring playwrights we have. That being said, it is pointless to allow an artist's personal life or even motivations to interfere with your enjoyment of the works themselves. (Mel Gibson is a crazy fuck, for example, but he makes damn interesting films.) Ultimately, the success of a Tennessee Williams' play depends on whether or not you can forget about who wrote it as you watch (not read) it. A Streetcar Named Desire, for example, is a brilliant play because I always get lost in its story, characters, and powerful central conflict. As a writer myself, I turn to Tennessee Williams because he was one of our best storytellers, and his characters are deeply memorable, even haunting.

Posted by Bub | July 14, 2008 12:45 PM

The most interesting productions of "Streetcar" that I've seen were the ones in "The Simpsons" and "All About My Mother"...

Posted by michael strangeways | July 14, 2008 1:17 PM

I'll tell you what's on my enormous whozeewhatsit!!!

Posted by Christopher Frizzelle's Enormous Whozeewhatsit | July 14, 2008 1:25 PM

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