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American Blues: Five Short Plays

American Blues: Five Short Plays
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Tennessee Williams
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 77
Pub. Date: 1990
ISBN-10: 0822200252
ISBN-13: 9780822200253

About the Play:

Contains 5 one-act plays by Tennessee Williams published under the collective title American Blues. Included in this collection are:

The Case of the Crushed Petunias. This delightful, humorous one-act play is an ideal choice for high school drama contests and one-act festivals. Miss Dorothy Simple, proprietor of the Simple Notions Shop in Primanproper, Massachusetts, has barricaded her house and heart behind a double row of petunias. But a visit from a mysterious stranger that coincides with all her petunias being mysteriously trampled one day, introduces a fantastical twist, as the Young Man challenges her outlook and perceptions of the reality she knew, presenting her with the most frightening and exciting choice of her life. The play wrestles with life's big questions in a tidy, humorous, poetic package. (Cast: 2 female, 2 male)

Moony's Kid Don't Cry. A ten-minute drama about a couple battling their way through a one-room existence. Moony is a star-gazer. Once a wood-cutter in the northern woods of Canada, Moony has settled down in a large industrial American city with his wife, Jane, and their child. A dawn quarrel in the middle of a slovenly kitchen between the frustrated labourer and his ailing wife boils up until she strikes him and he catches her by the throat. She tells him to go if he wants to, she will return to work but she insists he take the child with him and places it in his arms. The first play Williams wrote, it has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops. (Cast: 1 female, 1 male)

The Dark Room. A tragic ten-minute drama about an Italian woman and a welfare worker. It is the early summer of 1939 in a big industrial American city. Miss Morgan, a social worker, is interviewing Mrs. Pocciotti, whose daughter of fifteen, Tina, has remained shut in "the dark room" for six months after being jilted by a young German. Further surprises follow: the boy, Max, visits her regularly, the girl fights and screams if he does not arrive. The biggest surprise of all comes as the curtain slowly falls. (Cast: 2 female, 1 male)

Ten Blocks on the Camino Real. A dreamlike one-act meditation on alienation, beauty and death, which Tennessee Williams expanded into the full-length play, Camino Real. An American G.I. named Kilroy, an ex-boxer with the soul of a poet, finds himself in the surreal landscape of a fictitious Latin American nation where he interacts with several characters who have fallen into meaningless and destitute lives. (Cast: 3 female, 13 male, 10 dancers, flexible casting)

The Long Stay Cut Short, or, The Unsatisfactory Supper. A moving short drama about an old servant. Archie Lee and his Baby Doll Meighan (who parallel Jake and Flora in 27 Wagons Full of Cotton) reluctantly have had their senile Aunt Rose staying with them, and are at the end of their tether. They argue that she should be sent to stay with other relatives. An "unsatisfactory supper" cooked by Aunt Rose brings the issue to a head, and eventually in a fury Archie Lee bursts out at her. Nature takes a hand in settling the matter. (Cast: 2 female, 1 male)

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 was awarded four Drama Critic Circle Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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