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27 Wagons Full of Cotton and Other Plays

27 Wagons Full of Cotton and Other Plays
Your Price: $20.95 CDN
Author: Tennessee Williams
Publisher: New Directions
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 238
Pub. Date: 1966
Edition: 3rd
ISBN-10: 0811202259
ISBN-13: 9780811202251

About the Play:

27 Wagons Full Of Cotton has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female/Male Scenes.

Hello From Bertha has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female/Female Scenes.

The thirteen one-act plays collected in this volume include some of Tennessee Williams's finest and most powerful work. They are full of the perception of life as it is, and the passion for life as it ought to be, which have made The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire classics of the American theatre.

Only one of these plays (The Purification) is written in verse, but in all of them the approach to character is by way of poetic revelation. Whether Tennessee Williams is writing of derelict roomers in a New Orleans boarding house (The Lady of Larkspur Lotion) or the memories of a venerable travelling salesman (The Last of My Solid Gold Watches) or of delinquent children (This Property is Condemned), his insight into human nature is that of the poet. He can compress the basic meaning of life – its pathos or its tragedy, its bravery or the quality of its love – into one small scene or a few moments of dialogue.

Tennessee Williams' views on the role of the community theater in American culture are contained in a stimulating essay, "Something wild...," which serves as an introduction to this collection.

The collection 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and Other Plays includes:

27 Wagons Full Of Cotton: Flora Meighan becomes a pawn between two bitter enemies. Jake Meighan, a shady, middle-aged cotton gin owner, burns down rival Silva Vicarro's mill. Despite his suspicions, Vicarro sends Jake wagons loaded with bales of cotton in return for apparent sexual favours from Flora, Jakes delicate young wife. The swift and passionate scene between Flora and Vicarro has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops. (Cast:1 female, 2 male)

The Purification: A ten-minute poetic drama in New Mexico. In the 19th century American west, a community gathers for a murder trial. As the Judge attempts to hear all sides, the murdered woman appears as she might have been seen. Written in verse. (Cast: 6 female, 9 male)

The Lady Of Larkspur Lotion is a ten-minute three-hander. Mrs. Hardwicke-Moore is a long-time tenant in a cockroach-infested boarding house – but she lives convinced that she owns a Brazillian rubber plantation. The landlady has always humored her, but when Mrs. Hardwicke-Moore can't make her rent the two women start to argue. Just then, a mysterious writer steps in on the side of fantasy. (Cast: 2 female, 1 male)

The Last Of My Solid Gold Watches: A ten-minute play about Charlie Colton, a traveling shoe salesman, who is a walking relic. After arriving at an decaying hotel somewhere in the Mississippi Delta, he reminisces with the old porter about a world that has already died. (Cast: 3 male)

Portrait Of A Madonna: Miss Lucretia Collins once had young love and a bright future. Now she lives plagued with delusions in a small, decrepit apartment. Every night she imagines that Richard, her former love, breaks into her room to take advantage of herbut when she reports the intruder to the building manager, a doctor is called to come take her away. (Cast: 2 female, 4 male)

Auto-Da-Fé: Eloi, a young, sexually repressed postal worker, resides in New Orleans with his mother, a practical woman who runs a boarding house. Though he struggles for rationality, Eloi sees the city as an intolerable hotbed of depravityand he longs for the purification of fire. Tragic Study of fanaticism. (Cast: 3 female, 1 male)

Lord Byron's Love Letter is a ten-minute drama. An old woman and a spinster who live in an old, dilapidated house claim to have a love letter from the poet Lord Byron. (Cast: 3 female, 1 male)

The Strangest Kind of Romance: The proprietress of a boarding house is giving a tour to a potential tenant who hopes to get a job in the nearby factory. All the men who have lived there have signed their names on the wall – and one of them left his cat behind. After moving in, the man develops a sort of relationship with the landlady, but his real romance is with the cat. (Cast: 1 female, 3 male)

The Long Goodbye: Joe, a frustrated writer, is moving out of the apartment he has lived in his entire life. Haunted by the ghost of his dead mother and an apparition of his lost sister, he drifts through the events of his past. (Cast: 2 female, 2 male)

Hello From Bertha: A tour-de-force ten-minute play set in St. Louis. Bertha is a prostitute on the verge of being evicted from a low-class bordello. In a series of delusions she revisits her past loves while slipping toward disease and death. (Cast: 4 female)

This Property Is Condemned: Willie, a 13-year old girl from Mississippi, is world-weary before her time. She dropped out of school years ago, her family died, and now she lives alone in their condemned boarding house and dreams of becoming a whore. One day as she walks on the railroad tracks, she meets 16-year-old Tom. (Cast: 1 girl, 1 boy.)

Talk To Me Like The Rain And Let Me Listen: Two unnamed characters, Man and Woman, live in a crumbling flat on the Lower East Side. He is a drunk, and she is purposefully wasting away - but between them there is an intimacy of desperation. A moving drama wherein an entire breakdown between two people is mapped out. (Cast: 1 female, 1 male)

Something Unspoken: Miss Cornelia Scott is a grand, Southern woman whose outer extravagance belies inner insecurities. She has a complex, codependent relationship with her secretary, and during the elections for the local chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy, their tensions reach a tipping point. A play with an underlying current of irony and horror. (Cast: 2 female)

About the Playwright:

Tennessee Williams (1911-1983), one of the 20th century's most superb writers, was also one of its most successful and prolific. He was born in Columbus, Mississippi, where his grandfather was the Episcopal clergyman. When his father, a travelling salesman, moved with his family to St. Louis some years later, both he and his sister found it impossible to settle down to city life. He entered college during the Depression and left after a couple of years to take a clerical job in a shoe company. He stayed there for two years, spending the evening writing. He entered the University of Iowa in 1938 and completed his course, at the same time holding a large number of part-time jobs of great diversity. He received a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1940, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 and 1955.