Tuesday, April 28, 2015

the last book I ever read (Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, excerpt eleven)

from Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh: A Biography by John Lahr:

On Christmas Eve in 1971, Williams sent off the final draft of a new play, Small Craft Warnings, to its director, William Hunt. The play, which had begun as the one-act Confessional, had been written out of a despair “just this side of final,” Williams said. It marked his transition to sobriety and his reconnection with the world. A necessarily cautious work that Williams considered “minor,” Small Craft Warnings is a collage of mostly static character sketches: a collection of derelict lost souls who gather in a California seaside bar to drink, carouse, look for love, and flounder eloquently in the avant-garde of suffering. It has no plot structure, no real dynamic besides that of language sometimes beautifully used. “I have no intention—and no power—to change it much from that state of being,” Williams told Hunt. To the Times, he said, “The thing you mustn’t lose in life is the quality of surprise. I lost it at the time I was writing this play.”

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