Aug 02 2015

Lord Byron’s Love Letter

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Lord Byron’s Love Letter, by Tennessee Williams (Comedy-Drama)

Production 18:
Lord Byron’s Love Letter, by Tennessee Williams (Comedy-Drama)
Starring Louise Latham, Sylvia Short, Jean Nicol and William Smithers
[Playing Time: 18:40]

(Two spinsters try to sell readings of their secret memoirs.)

Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) was born “Thomas Lanier Williams” in Columbus, MS. As a student at the University of Missouri, he saw a production of Ibsen’s Ghosts and decided to become a playwright, but his father forced him to withdraw from college and work at the International Shoe Company. Eventually he returned to school; in1937 two of his plays were produced in St. Louis. In 1938, he graduated from the University of williams-4Iowa. After failing to find work in Chicago, he moved to New Orleans and changed his name to “Tennessee” which was the state of his father’s birth. In 1939, Battle of Angels was produced in Boston. In 1944, The Glass Menagerie had a successful run in Chicago and a year later opened on Broadway, winning the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. His mother, who was often compared to the controlling Amanda of this play, allowed doctors to perform a frontal lobotomy on Tennessee’s sister Rose, an event that greatly disturbed Williams, who cared for Rose throughout much of her adult life. Elia Kazan, who directed many of Williams’ greatest successes, said of Tennessee, “Everything in his life is in his plays, and everything in his plays is in his life.” Other critical successes: A Streetcar Named Desire (Pulitzer Prize), Summer and Smoke, The Rose Tattoo, and Camino Real. In 1950 and 1951, The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire were made into major motion pictures. Later plays which also became films: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (a second Pulitzer Prize, 1955), Orpheus Descending, and Night of the Iguana. Williams struggled with depression throughout most of his life, especially after the death in 1961 of his love-partner Frank Merlo. Williams lived with the constant fear that he, like his sister Rose, would go insane. For much of this period, he battled addictions to prescription drugs and alcohol. In addition to twenty-five full length plays, Williams produced dozens of short plays and screenplays, two novels, a novella, sixty short stories, over one-hundred poems and an autobiography. On February 24, 1983, in New York City, Tennessee Williams choked to death on a bottle cap.

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FROM THE MINDS OF PLAYWRIGHTS:
Love makes the time pass. Time makes love pass. - Euripedes


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