27 Wagons Full of Cotton and Other Plays (The Theatre of Tennessee Williams, Book 6)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
They are full of the perception of life as it is, and the passion for life as it ought to be, which have made The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire classics of the American theater.
Only one of these plays (The Purification) is written in verse, but in all of them the approach to character is by way of poetic revelation. Whether Williams is writing of derelict roomers in a New Orleans boarding house (The Lady of Larkspur Lotion) or the memories of a venerable traveling salesman (The Last of My Solid Gold Watches) or of delinquent children (This Property is Condemned), his insight into human nature is that of the poet. He can compress the basic meaning of life—its pathos or its tragedy, its bravery or the quality of its love—into one small scene or a few moments of dialogue.
Mr. Williams's views on the role of the little theater in American culture are contained in a stimulating essay, "Something wild...," which serves as an introduction to this collection.
Sangre mala—call it. CHORUS: (whispering) Sangre mala! Sangre mala! MOTHER: Our people—were Indian-fighters . . . The Indians now are subdued— So what can we do but contend with our own queer shadows? THE JUDGE: Señora— MOTHER: Bear with me a while, for I must explain things to you. FATHER: Callate, Maria! Rosalio, stand and speak! (The Son looks at The Judge.) THE JUDGE: Yes, Rosalio, speak. (The Son rises slowly, twisting the length of white rope between his hands.) SON: What do
lets the match fall.) MME. DUVENET: (turning) Eloi, you’ve burned your fingers! ELOI: Yes! MME. DUVENET: Oh, come in the kitchen and let me put soda on it! (Eloi turns and goes quickly into the house. She starts to follow.) Go right in the kitchen! We’ll put on baking soda! (She reaches for the handle of the screen door. Eloi slips the latch into place. Madame Duvenet pulls the door and finds it locked.) Eloi! (He stares at her through the screen. A note of terror comes into her voice.) Eloi!
I’ll be along in a while. SILVA: Because I don’t like the way you’re acting and for some goddam reason I feel—responsible for you. You might take a notion to do a Steve Brody out one a them windows. JOE: (laughing shortly) For Chrissakes what would I do that for? SILVA: Because your state of mind is abnormal. I’ve been lookin’ at you. You’re starin’ off into space like something’s come loose in your head. I know what you’re doing. You’re taking a morbid pleasure in watchin’ this junk hauled
childlike and innocent in her appearance despite the makeup. She laughs frequently and wildly and with a sort of precocious, tragic abandon. The boy Tom, slightly older, watches her from below the embankment. He wears corduroy pants, blue shirt and a sweater and carries a kite of red tissue paper with a gaudily ribboned tail. TOM: Hello. Who are you? WILLIE: Don’t talk to me till I fall off. (She proceeds dizzily. Tom watches with mute fascination. Her gyrations grow wider and wider. She
wagons full of—cotton. JAKE: Vicarro was pretty well pleased w’en he dropped over. FLORA: Yeah. He was—pretty well—pleased. JAKE: How did you all get along? FLORA: We got along jus’ fine. Jus’ fine an’—dandy. JAKE: He didn’t seem like a such a bad little guy. He takes a sensible attitude. FLORA: (laughing helplessly) He—sure—does! JAKE: I hope you made him comfo’table in the house? FLORA: (giggling) I made him a pitcher—of nice cold—lemonade! JAKE: With a little gin in it, huh? That’s