Shopping Cart
Your cart is empty.

        We accept PayPal, Visa & Mastercard
        through our secure checkout.

 

Mastercard                              

 

Orpheus Descending

Orpheus Descending
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Tennessee Williams
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 83
Pub. Date: 1959
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 0822208652
ISBN-13: 9780822208655
Cast Size: 9 female, 10 male

About the Play:

Orpheus Descending has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Female Monologues and Female/Male Scenes.

Orpheus Descending is a full-length drama by Tennessee Williams. A Sicilian immigrant's daughter, unhappily running a dry-goods store in the South and tending to her dying husband, is reawakened by a mysterious drifter who appears in town. Orpheus Descending is a vague reworking of the Orpheus and Eurydice legend in modern America, with a Southern township presumably representing Hell.

Orpheus Descending follows the handsome, guitar-playing Val as he descends into a hell of a small-town variety store. Thirty-year-old Val Xavier arrives in the gossipy, prejudice-ridden township with his guitar, and meets "Lady" Torrence, whose elderly husband is dying of cancer. His attempts to bring some happiness into her sex-starved life, together with other developments, lead to tragedy for both of them. As The New York Times describes, "The play tells of a woman storekeeper and a handsome, guileless youth who comes in off the highway. A guitar-player, he is a rural Orpheus who descends to rescue his love – not in Hades, precisely, but amid the intrigue, gossip and violence of a hot-tempered town... Orpheus Descending is one of Mr. Williams' pleasant plays, with characters determined to free themselves from corruption, with some sensitive philosophical comments in passing about the loneliness of the human being condemned in his world to solitary confinement for the whole of his life. Mr. Williams is in a more humane state of mind than he has been in several years... The introduction of the musical homeless man to the friendless woman who keeps the store, their humorous talk, their serious talk, the simplicity of their liaison after they have come to know each other – all this Mr. Williams has written in his best style of mood, lyricism and tenderness." The timeless myth of a poet who travels to the underworld – and returns to our world to share his visions of love and pain – inspired Tennessee Williams for decades.

Orpheus Descending premiered in 1957 on Broadway at Martin Beck Theatre. While this large cast play is rarely performed professionally, it has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and remains a popular choice for community theatre productions.

Cast: 9 female, 10 male

What people say:

"…because of the power and the brilliance and the humor of his writing, it emerges as a consistently moving and captivating experience…the author has done a masterful job of getting inside his characters." — New York Journal-American

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 New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Related Products

The Glass Menagerie
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
The Glass Menagerie
Tennessee Williams
A Streetcar Named Desire
Your Price: $18.95 CDN
A Streetcar Named Desire
Tennessee Williams
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Your Price: $18.95 CDN
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Tennessee Williams
American Blues: Five Short Plays
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
American Blues: Five Short Plays
Tennessee Williams
Clothes for a Summer Hotel
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Clothes for a Summer Hotel
Tennessee Williams
A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur
Your Price: $18.95 CDN
A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur
Tennessee Williams
Not About Nightingales
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Not About Nightingales
Tennessee Williams
The Rose Tattoo
Your Price: $18.95 CDN
The Rose Tattoo
Tennessee Williams
Summer and Smoke
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Summer and Smoke
Tennessee Williams
Suddenly Last Summer
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Suddenly Last Summer
Tennessee Williams