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Author: Bruce Smith
ISBN13: 978-1557781758
Title: Costly Performances Tennessee Williams
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ePUB size: 1770 kb
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Language: English
Category: Arts and Literature
Publisher: Paragon House; 1st edition (June 1, 1990)
Pages: 262

Costly Performances Tennessee Williams by Bruce Smith

Costly Performances, Bruce Smith’s remembrance of Tennessee Williams, is brilliant, insightful, witty, and deeply human

by Smith, Bruce (James Bruce). Publication date 1990. Topics Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983, Dramatists, American. Publisher New York : Paragon House. Collection inlibrary; printdisabled; ; china. Digitizing sponsor Internet Archive. Contributor Internet Archive. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books. Uploaded by Lotu Tii on September 24, 2012.

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Thomas Lanier Williams. Tennessee Williams met long-term partner Frank Merlo in the summer of 1948 (Merlo died of lung cancer in the fall of 1963). Though separated briefly in 1961 and again in 1962, the two were partners for 15 years. Merlo acted as his personal manager/secretary Show more . . Aside from his published "Memoirs", the only authorized biographical book on Williams is by Bruce Smith, entitled "Costly Performances - Tennessee Williams; The Last Stage. This book deals with the last four years of Williams' life (1979-1983). Show less . Why did I write?

Tennessee Williams met long-term partner Frank Merlo in the summer of 1948 (Merlo died of lung cancer in the fall of 1963). Merlo acted as his personal manager/secretary. IMDb Mini Biography By: Franco D'Alessandro. Tennesse Williams won two Pulitzer Prizes, for "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1947) and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1955).

Aus 1800 067 877 nzl 0800 771 773 int +61 2. A Chicago publicist describes his intimate (but not sexual) three-year friendship with the aging, alcoholic, drug-addicted Tennessee Williams. In Key West, Chicago and New York, assisting the playwright as he worked on the production of his last two plays, Clothes for a Summer Hotel and A House Not Meant to Stand, Smith kept a journal in which he recorded episodes of the dramatist's paranoia, his feelings about Marlon Brando, Truman Capote, Paul Newman, Geraldine Page and various gay companions. Other Books From BibliOZ. The Asian Barbecue Book. From Teriyaki to Tandoori.

Don’t miss the wonderful write-up and gorgeous pictures of the book and the art by Clarice Smith

A Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Celebration occurs in March of each season to commemorate his profession. The festival started in 1986, 3 years after his loss of life. Gleam theatre called after him in Crucial West, Florida. 11. Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives".

Costly Performances: Tennessee Williams: The Last Stage. New York: Paragon House, 1990. Tharpe, Jac, ed. Tennessee Williams: A Tribute. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1977. Columbia University: Tennessee Williams Papers, 1920-1983 This is a summary of the contents of the Tennessee Williams Papers at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University. Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin This Web site contains an alphabetical index of collections at the Harry Ransom Center. There are three separate collections devoted to Tennessee Williams here.

Chronicles the final years of the playwright's life, revealing his eccentricities, his efforts to pull his life together after years of decline, and his feelings toward fellow writers
Reviews: 3
Costly Performances, Bruce Smith’s remembrance of Tennessee Williams, is brilliant, insightful, witty, and deeply human. Mr. Smith was a friend of the playwright during the final months of the artist’s tragic melodrama when the critics and hangers-on were ganging up on him. Mr. Smith stood close as an ally in support to the terrible end, becoming as close to the artist’s paranoid heart as any non-lover could be. In fact, he was finally accepted almost as a true brother by Mr. Williams, especially after the great playwright felt betrayed by his actual sibling, Dakin.

Costly Performances tells the story of those final, difficult days when Mr. Williams was trying to revise a career ravaged by substance abuse, failed love affairs, phony pals, and critics, who claimed that no good would be found in the final play, “Clothes for a Summer Hotel,” in which the playwright had invested so much hope. He based it on the lives of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the critics were harsh. Three years later, Mr. Williams would die in a New York City hotel. It was in this degrading but often ironically funny desperation, which Mr. Smith witnessed and has so honestly written about, that we find two great and honest artists, Tennessee Williams and Bruce Smith.

Mr. Smith stood by the great playwright through the thick and thin of it all. He gracefully reports the story here complete with all the characters who would play parts in the final tragedy, from Elia Kazan and Marlon Brando to Maureen Stapleton, the Lady Maria St. Just, who Mr. Williams said was neither a lady nor a saint nor just, Geraldine Page, and many more celebrities, some who bravely delivered the goods and others who behaved miserably.

Of all the pleasing passages in Costly Performances, I especially value this comment made by Mr. Williams as well as Mr. Smith’s brilliant analysis of it:

"'... only in his work can an artist find reality and satisfaction, for the actual world is less intense than the world of his invention and consequently his life, without recourse to violent disorder, does not seem very substantial.' Tennessee's recourse to disorder was now the order of the day, as his search for the substantiality of life could only now be found in his personal life. The violence was of an emotional cast, rather than physical. It became apparent that he was enacting the drama of his life through the casting of actual persons who could be instantly motivated, spurred on, and then destroyed with all the dispatch of a truly effective avenging angel ... persons entered into his circle of their own accord and thereby participated in their own undoing. 'Security is a kind of death,' Tennessee would assure his obliging victims. 'The struggle is all.'"
Throughout, Bruce Smith shows his deep understanding of the Tennessee Williams œuvre. For example, consider his take on the great playwright's search for a way to dramatize the irony of tragedy: "... your humor has always been cast as irony, which is an acceptable manner for handling humor in the context of a tragedy. Are you planning to make a laughing matter out of the psychic trauma familiar to most of your characters?" On Mr. Williams's tendency to cruelly punish the very people who were trying to make the most of his last awkward plays, Mr. Smith writes, "... if the sense of drama didn't work in the play, it could still be effected in real life."

Thomas Mann wrote, "Art is combat, an exhausting struggle. An endless war over taste." And Duke Ellington said, "When art ceases to be dangerous, you don't want it." These two artists would have been an audience who could truly appreciate the playwright's work and "wounded life." Always the generous friend, Mr. Smith makes it clear that he, perhaps he alone, provided the solace and understanding the culture could not provide to Tennessee Williams. Perhaps it came too late. How could it not? Freud claimed we are formed by nature and nurture by the age of two. If this is so, the life ahead can only grow out of that foundation. Those plays could only be produced by a tortured soul employing his art to survive a monster mother, a weak father, and a mad sister, i.e., a terrible dominatrix, a fool, and a lobotomy.

Costly Performances deserves to be scripted for the stage, and Mr. Smith should be the one to make the conversion. With the right director and actors, it will be a smash hit, especially with a London debut. Please say it will happen, Mr. Smith.
What a sad story of a great playwright. But how beautifully the story is told. That is what matters. All lovers of theatre should find it exhilarating.
What is most striking about this book is its lack of sentimentality and incisive, sharp language. There has, indeed, been much written about Tennessee Williams, perhaps too much; the endless nonsense of his being a self-hating homosexual, the lurid tales of his promiscuity, the alleged Oedipal complexes, the temper tantrums and paranoia, and other such twaddle have all obfuscated many essential things about the genius who was Tennessee Williams. This excellent book stands out because it reminds us of Mr. Williams' power -as a person and a playwright- and at the same time it is not sycophantic nor is it cleverly bitchy. Smith, the author, meets Williams rather by accident and the unlikely friendship blossoms. I found the writing to be rather enthralling, evocative, and extremely well-crafted, which allows it to stand apart from many of the other (lesser) books on Williams. It is a memoir and does not purport to be anything but that, which allows the reader a keen insight into the life and work and humanity of the great Tennessee Williams. Because it is told from Smith's eyes the recounting of these stories is deeply personal and often effervescent with images and ideas; a far cry from the mawkish, self-consumed memoirs that pass as literature these days. I also liked the fact that Smith names some names and makes clear the case that the critics, PR people, and the various 'powers that be' in the theater and film worlds (i.e. agents, lawyers, producers) all played their part in Williams' miserable and protracted demise as much as the alcohol and pills did. And while Smith does not exculpate Williams from his vices he carefully explains why, he in fact, had them, and elucidates the nefarious forces constantly in conflict with the artist and his creative process.

Make no mistake this is Mr. Smith's story of his friendship with Tennessee, and thank goodness for its uniqueness, honesty, and edge. I think to truly appreciate this book one has to be familiar with serious writing (Eliot, Shaw) and not the Pop pap that sadly passes for publishable literature today. COSTLY PERFORMANCES and its author are both class acts and any writer or artist or person with a soul or fan of Tennessee Williams will love this book.