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The Gentleman Caller

The Gentleman Caller
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Philip Dawkins
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 78
Pub. Date: 2019
ISBN-10: 0822239744
ISBN-13: 9780822239741

About the Play:

The Gentleman Caller is a full-length drama by Philip Dawkins. Before becoming icons of American theatre, Tennessee Williams and William Inge were just two aspiring playwrights sharing a night together, shut away from the world's judgment. As the liquor flows and confessions begin to spill out, these men reveal sides of themselves the public never saw, in all their vulnerabilities, flaws, and triumphs.

The Gentleman Caller is about the meeting, friendship and sexual tryst of Tennessee Williams and William Inge. Although now regarded as two of history's finest American playwrights, whose work irrevocably altered the theatrical and social landscapes, back in 1944, William Inge and Tennessee Williams had yet to experience anything close to success. As flamboyant genius Williams prepares for the world premiere of his play The Glass Menagerie, the self-loathing Inge, a dissatisfied newspaper critic, denying his true wish to be writing plays, invites Williams to his St. Louis apartment for an interview. This fraught, sexy rendezvous sparks a relationship which radically alters the course of their lives and the American Theatre. Based on real-life but closed-door encounters, reconstructed from troves of comments (and elisions) by each man about their relationship, Philip Dawkins gorgeously envisions what might have taken place during those early-career meetings.

The Gentleman Caller was first produced in 2018 by Raven Theatre Company in Chicago, Illinois. It premiered in New York City in 2018 by Abingdon Theatre Company at the Cherry Lane Theater. Since then the play had regional premieres at professional theatres across the US.

Cast: 2 men

What people say:

"Tennessee Williams and William Inge make a tragic duo for the ages…It's a beautiful play, equal parts Williams, Inge, and Dawkins himselfa stiff, intoxicating cocktail that knocks you flat on your back and leaves you there…it is utter, tragic perfection." — Time Out Chicago

"The Gentleman Caller is a beautiful piece of work. Its examination of two of America's most lyrical playwrights is itself poetic and artful; one can hear echoes of both real men's plays…Knowing the playwrights does help, but it isn't by any means necessary; Dawkins provides all of the needed background within the script. But he doesn't allow the play to become bogged down by the elegance of its lines; rather, he couches everything in (often dark) humor…It's a remarkable work about remarkable classic playwrights from a pretty remarkable Chicago playwright." — ChicagoOnStage.com

"…[a] richly evocative play… Dawkins… has a terrifically acerbic, winningly naughty sense of humor that comes paired with a deceptive passion, and this makes him ideal for channeling Williams. His insights into the differences between the celebrant and the spectator, the artist and the critic (with one who is 'a maker of dreams' and the other who 'destroys by describing'), are cutting but not entirely off target." — WTTW News

About the Playwright:

Philip Dawkins is a Chicago playwright and educator whose plays have been produced throughout the US and the world. He has over full productions of his plays – over 40 if you count his shorter works – that have debuted at the likes of Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, and Strawdog Theatre Company. He teaches playwriting at Northwestern University, his alma mater Loyola University Chicago, and through the Victory Gardens ACCESS Program for writers with disabilities.