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June 5, 2019

10 Tennessee Williams Plays to Perform


You may be familiar with A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie, but how well do you know the wider work of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams?

Here are just a few recommendations of plays to perform from our Licensing team.

And Tell Sad Stories of the Deaths of Queens…
(Short Play, Drama / 4m)
Candy Delaney is a successful New Orleans interior decorator and a drag queen approaching “her” 35th birthday. On the rebound from a seventeen-year relationship, Candy has picked up a rough sailor, Karl, on whom she lavishes money. But on the day of Candy’s approaching birthday, Karl walks out…

Camino Real
(Full Length Play, Comedy / 27m, 12f)
A dream-like and disturbing drama set in a walled community in a Latin American town, from which the residents repeatedly try to escape, with little chance of success. Praised by the NY World Telegram as ‘a brilliant and riotous adventure.’

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
(Full Length Play, Drama / 10m, 7f)
In a plantation house in the Mississippi Delta, a family celebrates the 65th birthday of Big Daddy. However, a sombre mood prevails as the news breaks that Big Daddy is dying, sparking greedy disputes and desperate hopes for the future.

In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel
(Full Length Play, Drama / 3m, 2f)
An artist wears himself down into a nervous ruin, following on from a breakthrough in his painting technique and the threat of abandonment from his wife. It’s an autobiographical exploration of success, envy and loneliness.

Not About Nightingales
(Full Length Play, Drama / 9m, 3f)
An early work that caused a sensation in Houston, New York, and London when it first opened due to its radically sympathetic treatment of themes surrounding race and homosexuality – so much so that it wasn’t then produced for 60 years. This is a raw dramatisation of real events at a Philadelphia prison in 1937, when convicts on hunger strike were cruelly mistreated.

Something Cloudy, Something Clear
(Full Length Play, Drama / 6m, 5f)
By Williams’ own admission, this was “one of the most personal plays I’ve ever written.” It records his experiences, joys and regrets from that ‘pivotal summer when I took sort of a crash course in growing up” and met Kip, his first love.

Sweet Bird of Youth
(Full Length Play, Drama / 15m, 7f)
This dark exploration of youth and fame follows Chance Wayne, a hustler who was once the heartthrob of his hometown, and an aging Hollywood actress who’s taking refuge from the reaction to her latest screen disaster.

Talk To Me Like The Rain and Let Me Listen
(Short Play, Drama / 1m, 1f)
Two unnamed characters live in a crumbling flat on the Lower East Side. He is a drunk, and she is purposefully wasting away; the cyclical nature of their hopelessness and deprivation is explored in this powerful short play. A part of the collection 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and Other Plays.

The Rose Tattoo
(Full Length Play, Drama / 9m, 14f)
A poetic and wistful piece that won the 1951 Tony Award for Best Play. Set among a colony of Sicilian fisherfolk on the American Gulf Coast, it tells the story of a widow who has secluded herself to a prolonged mourning period, and the man who awakes her passion. Described by Williams as his “love-play to the world”

Vieux Carré
(Full Length Play, Drama / 5m, 5f)
Like Williams’ first big success The Glass Menagerie, this 1977 work is a ‘memory play’. In the French Quarter of New Orleans in the 1930s, a young writer has recently arrived from St. Louis and taken up residence at a rooming house. The play follows his seduction by an older artist, as well as the interwoven lives of the other residents.

Discover more plays by Tennessee Williams to perform in the UK.