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Summer Brave

Summer Brave
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Biz Staff Pick!
Author: William Inge
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 79
Pub. Date: 1979
ISBN-10: 0822210983
ISBN-13: 9780822210986
Cast Size: 7 female, 7 male

About the Play:

Summer Brave has long been a favourite of acting teachers for male/male scenes.

Summer Brave is a full-length drama by William Inge. A handsome young drifter shakes things up in a sleepy Midwestern town. The young man sets off a chain of events that has the citizens pondering about the present and an unpleasant future. From one of the 20th Century's most important playwrights, this rewritten version of the Pulitzer Prize winning Picnic has the same story with a few more curves and turns along the way, thus making Summer Brave a separate work that holds its own. Particularly suitable for schools and play contests.

Summer Brave has been described by the author as the "rewritten and final version of the romantic comedy Picnic." It follows the same basic story of its Pulitzer Prize winning counterpart, with a few distinctions. Again, as in Picnic, the setting is a small Kansas town where everyone knows each other – until a mysterious young stranger affects the ambience of the community. The animal attractiveness of an unpolished young stranger sets small-town tongues wagging and leads to unexpected consequences for a stifled beauty queen, her cynically practical mother, her inquisitive younger sister, and a spinster schoolteacher boarder. Summer Brave has more acting roles and background "colour" than Picnic since William Inge re-focuses on his original purpose, approaching its theme with more humour and verisimilitude, the play reaches similar conclusions about the impetuosity of youth; the damage caused by rumour and innuendo; and the sudden realization by the older characters that life is about to pass them by. In the end the play is a masterful blend of touching and humorous elements in which lessons are learned about growing up, going on, and accepting what a sometimes perverse fate imposes. This haunting and deeply affecting play was withheld from general availability during the author's lifetime. In his preface, William Inge wrote that he never completely fulfilled his goals before going into production with Picnic in 1953. After the accolades were bestowed upon Picnic including the hit movie, he decided to go back and rework the play for his own gratification, offering fascinating glimpses into the subtle processes that shape and reshape a creative work as it takes on the final shadings that fully reflect the author's intentions, thus making it a separate work that can hold its own. Over 50 years later, this work, from one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th century, resonates even today as we ponder the wonders of youth and realize that life is moving faster than we would like.

Summer Brave premiered in 1975 on Broadway at the ANTA Playhouse. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and is regularly performed in regional repertory, middle school, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 7 female, 7 male

What people say:

"...one of this country's half-dozen greatest playwrights ... worth traveling any distance to see." — Wall Street Journal

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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