The Magic Tower and Other One-Act Plays

Overview

A wonderful collection of never-before-collected one-acts: “The peak of my virtuosity was in the one- act plays. Some of which are like firecrackers in a rope” (Tennessee Williams).
Here are portraits of American life during the Great Depression and after, populated by a hopelessly hopeful chorus girl, a munitions manufacturer ensnared in a love triangle, a rural family that deals “justice” on its children, an overconfident mob dandy, a poor couple who quarrel to vanquish ...

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Overview

A wonderful collection of never-before-collected one-acts: “The peak of my virtuosity was in the one- act plays. Some of which are like firecrackers in a rope” (Tennessee Williams).
Here are portraits of American life during the Great Depression and after, populated by a hopelessly hopeful chorus girl, a munitions manufacturer ensnared in a love triangle, a rural family that deals “justice” on its children, an overconfident mob dandy, a poor couple who quarrel to vanquish despair, a young “spinster” enthralled by the impulse of rebellion, and, in “The Magic Tower,” a passionate artist and his wife whose youth and optimism are not enough to protect their “dream marriage.” This new volume gathers some of Williams’s most exuberant early work and includes one-acts that he would later expand to powerful full-length dramas: “The Pretty Trap,” a cheerful take on The Glass Menagerie, and “Interior: Panic,” a stunning precursor to A Streetcar Named Desire.
The plays include:
• At Liberty
• The Magic Tower
• Me, Vashya
• Curtains for the Gentleman
• In Our Profession
• Every Twenty Minutes
• Honor the Living
• The Case of the Crushed Petunias
• Moony’s Kid Don’t Cry
• The Dark Room
• The Pretty Trap
• Interior: Panic
• Kingdom of Earth
• I Never Get Dressed Till After Dark on Sundays
• Some Problems for The Moose Lodge

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
“Within his early one-acts there are intriguing prototypes of characters and seeds of ideas Williams developed more fully in his later, larger dramas.”
Randy Gener - American Theater Magazine
“Williams was always confronting the future; a shaman with a typewriter, he dug into the darkest depths of the American psyche in search of dramatic truths.”
Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson
“Just as young painters make their stabs at impressionism and cubism, in his early one-acts Williams tried his hand with political satire, expressionism, social realism, and even drawing-room comedy.”
Terrence McNally
“Reading these plays of the very young Tennessee, then of the successful Tennessee Williams, and finally of the troubled man of the 1970s he had become, we are offered a panoramic yet detailed view of the themes, the demons, and the wit of this iconic playwright.”
Tennessee Williams in a 1950 letter to Elia Kazan
“The peak of my virtuosity was in the one-act plays. Some of which are like firecrackers in a rope.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811219204
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 4/25/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 788,852
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) is the acclaimed author of many books of letters, short stories, poems, essays, and a large collection of plays, including The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Camino Real, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Orpheus Descending, The Night of the Iguana, and The Rose Tattoo.

Terrence McNally is the author of a dozen one-acts and over thirty full-length plays. He has been honored with four Tony Awards—for Love! Valour! Compassion!, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Master Class, and Ragtime—four Drama Desk Awards, two Obie Awards, and an Emmy.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1961, Thomas Keith is an editor, as well as production manager and art director, at New Directions Publishing. He lives in New York City.

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