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A Loss of Roses

A Loss of Roses
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Biz Staff Pick!
Author: William Inge
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 77
Pub. Date: 1963
ISBN-10: 0822206889
ISBN-13: 9780822206880
Cast Size: 4 female, 4 male

About the Play:

A Loss of Roses has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues and Female/Male Scenes.

A Loss of Roses is a full-length drama by William Inge. An out-of-work dancer comes to stay with the much-too-close mother and son for whom she had once worked as a maid in this poignant story of a young man's struggle for independence and an older woman's search for connection. A Loss of Roses is set against the backdrop of a small Mid-western town in the 1930's, their unconventional romance is filled with the promise of new beginnings as well as the possibility of scandal and rejection.

A Loss of Roses, a little-known William Inge masterpiece, bravely tells the story of two women struggling to make their lives bearable in a small Kansas town. Helen is a church-going widow in her 40s who cherishes the memory of her heroic husband above all else, even as her 21-year-old son, Kenny, struggles to fill his shoes and win his mother's love. The two eke out a living from Helen's wages as a nurse and Kenny's work at a gas station. They keep their small house but have no money for luxuries; Helen's religious activities are her only recreation. Their lives are totally disrupted when Helen's old friend and Kenny's babysitter, Lila, arrives to visit. Lila is a beautiful but emotionally insecure 30-something actress and showgirl who arrives on their doorstep without a job or direction, but with a lifetime of baggage. When Lila moves in, a love triangle is created that can only end in heartbreak when someone must break free. Penned in the intimate style of Tennessee Williams (who was his mentor), but with William Inge's graceful insight into the lives of broken families, A Loss of Roses is a bittersweet romance about the loss of innocence.

A Loss of Roses premiered in 1959 at Eugene O'Neill Theatre on Broadway in New York City and provided a young Warren Beatty with his lone Broadway role. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops, enjoyed an acclaimed revival off-Broadway in 2014, and has been performed in regional, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 4 female, 4 male

What people say:

"This nearly-lost classic by the author of Bus Stop and Picnic is a fine play that should never have slipped from sight." — The Wall Street Journal

"A Loss of Roses is a bittersweet gem of a story ... on par with the best of Tennessee Williams." — Arkansas Times

"[Inge] has probed gently and with sympathy into the characters…Since he writes with skill and clarity, Inge has transferred this sympathy to me." — New York Daily News

"This nice, well-bred next door neighbor, with the accent that belongs to no region except the region of good manners, has begun to uncover a world that his welcome prepared you to meet, it's a secret world that exists behind the screen of neighborly decorum. And that's when and where you meet the talent of William Inge." — Tennessee Williams

About the Playwright:

William Inge (1913-1973) may justifiably be called the first playwright to examine the American Midwest and its people. He was born in Independence, Kansas, and was educated at the University of Kansas. After working as a teacher and an actor, he became the drama critic for the St. Louis Star-Times. During the 1950s and early '60s, no other American dramatist with the exception of Tennessee Williams could compare with William Inge in his prominence on the Broadway stage and in films. As Tennessee Williams tapped into the mannerisms and neuroses of the American South, Inge did much the same for the Midwest racking up a stunning track record on Broadway – four plays, four hits – and all of his theatrical successes were turned into big-budget Hollywood movies with blue-chip casts. Like Williams, he also occasionally wrote film scripts, and he won an Oscar for Splendor in the Grass.

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