Tennesse Williams – a street car named desire, cat on a hot tin roof

Tennessee Williams’ Memoirs

T. Williams

il teatro in America nel 1900
During World War II (1939-1945) the American plays dealt with (trattarono) the themes of escapism (fuga) or of wartime propaganda (propaganda di guerra). With the end of conflict, Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) emerged with his realistic plays full of pathos.
Most of his works are set (hanno luogo) in the South, but they rise (si elevano) above regionalism to approach (avvicinarsi) universal themes – they won the an international audience and worldwide acclaim (applauso). He won two Pulitzer Prizes and four New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards. T. Williams’ dramas were mined (minati) from the playwright’s own life: alcoholism, depression, loneliness, and insanity. Besides he had to admit to himself and to the world he was homosexual – in a period unfriendly to homosexuality. Most of Williams’s most memorable characters, are female and contain recognizable elements of their author, while the male figures (figure maschili) are modelled on his own father who tormented Williams during his childhood.
Williams set his plays in the South, but the compelling manner in which he rendered his themes made them universal, winning him. However, most critics agree that the quality of Williams’s work diminished as he grew older. He suffered a long period of depression following the death of his longtime partner, Frank Merlo, in 1963. His popularity during these years also declined due to changed interests in the theater world. During the radical 1960s and 1970s, nostalgia no longer drew crowds, and Williams’s explorations of sexual mores came across as tired and old-fashioned.

un tram che si chiama desiderio
A street car named desire (1947) by Tennesse Williams is the story of Blanche Dubois, a talkative (chiaccherona) woman from Mississippi who shows an upper-class mentality. She gets to (arriva) New Orleans to stay with her sister, Stella Kowalski. Blanche is a very vain (vanitosa) woman, always concerned (preoccupata) with her physical appearance while her sister Stella, who is pregnant, has married someone of lower status (stato sociale inferiore) , Stanley Kowalski, from Poland. Stanley is a man with poor education who works in a factory, but is extremely passionate and handsome. Blanche and Stanley are in contrast for their ways of life and argue (discutono) every minute detail of life. Blanche tells Stella that she has lost Belle Reve, their childhood plantation home (casa con piantagione). Stanley does not believe her : he wants to see the documents about property and investigates (indaga) on Blanche’s past. He found people who knew her in Laurel, where she lived and taught English and comes to know that she frequented many men included a seventeen-year-old boy at her school, which is the reason for her sudden departure (fuga improvvisa). She also lived among prostitutes in a cheap hotel. Stanley reveals what he has knownbrutally and violently and during their final confrontation, Blanche has a nervous breakdown (crollo di nervi). Then she meets one of Stanley’s friends Mitch and they start flirting but he will leave her after discovering her past. Stella has the baby and she finally realizes that Blanche has problems and decides, with her husband, to put her in a state institution for mentally sick people (manicomio). The play was turned into (adattata) a 1951 film directed by Elia Kazan starring (con attori) Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando.

la gatta sul tetto che scotta
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955) by Tennessee Williams shows the emotional lies (menzogne) governing relationships in the family of a wealthy (benestante) southern planter ( propietario di piantagioni) of humble (umili) origins . The patriarch, Big Daddy, is going to (sta per) celebrate his 65th birthday. His two married sons, Cooper (Brother Man) and Brick, are at home for the occasion: Cooper, with his pregnant wife (moglie in cinta) and five children; Brick with his wife Maggie. The play pivots around (la commedia ruota) the interaction among them (tra loro). Cat on a Hot Tin Roof won the Pulitzer prize and was turned into (fu adattato in )a 1958 film directed by Richard Brooks and starring (interpretato da)Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman .

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