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Camino Real

Camino Real
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Tennessee Williams
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 96
Pub. Date: 1948
ISBN-10: 0822201771
ISBN-13: 9780822201779
Cast Size: 10 female, 26 male (extras, doubling possible)

About the Play:

Camino Real has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues.

Camino Real is a full-length fantasy by Tennessee Williams. This hauntingly poetic allegory takes us to the mysterious Camino Real, a surreal netherworld populated by a colourful collection of lost souls anxious to escape but terrified of the unknown wasteland lurking beyond the city's walls. When Kilroy, an American traveller and former boxer, inadvertently lands in Camino Real, he sets off on a phantasmagoric venture through illusion and temptation in an attempt to flee its confines – and defy his grim destiny.

Camino Real is a dead end town on the edge of civilization where characters land when they have relinquished their hope and dreams. It is a police state in a mythic border town situated in the Southwest, or perhaps tucked just inside of Mexico, which sits in the shadow of a gargantuan border wall built to keep the bad hombres out – or is it built to keep the residents of the town in? Stranded here are a group of romantic non-conformists from history and literature (they include Don Quixote, Casanova, Camille, Marguerite Gautier, and Lord Byron) who inhabit a place where corruption and indifference have immobilized and nearly destroyed the human spirit. They are joined by another has-been, Kilroy, an American who was once a champion boxer but had to ditch his career because his heart's "as big as the head of a baby". Through a series of traps, roadblocks, and devious plots which Kilroy must navigate, Tennessee Williams takes us on his journey to see if the American dream can survive the real world. Camino Real is fast-paced, wild, and devastating from start to finish, showcasing the brutal and the beautiful truths about time spent on earth in the company of people. Whose side are you on? The Generalissimo who wants to protect you from the harsh world beyond the wall, or the underdog boxer with the heart of gold?

Camino Real premiered in 1953 at the National Theatre on Broadway in New York City and confounded critics and confused audiences. It was a departure from his other Broadway blockbusters, focusing on outliers from society and symbolic characters from history and fiction rather than Southern belles and the people who can't live with them. Later productions in Los Angeles and New York indicated that the public had caught up with this work and could face its picture of our world – grim but not without magnificence. This often-studied American theatre classic has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in college theatre productions as a showcase of student talent.

Cast: 10 female, 26 male (extras, doubling possible)

What people say:

"There are people who believe that Camino Real was Tennessee Williams's best play and I believe that they are right. It is a play torn out of a human soul." — New York Times

"Camino Real is a brilliant and riotous adventure. It succeeds in making tangible for all your senses the delirious pains and ecstasy of a wild dream." — New York World-Telegram

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.

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