Stairs to the Roof

Overview

A play produced only twice in the 1940s and now published for the first time reveals that Tennessee Williams anticipated the themes of Star Trek by decades.
Sixty years ago a young Tennessee Williams wrote a play looking toward the year 2001. Stairs to the Roof is a rare and different Williams' work: a love story, a comedy, an experiment in meta-theater, with a touch of early science fiction. Tennessee Williams called Stairs to the Roof "a prayer for the wild of heart who are ...

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Overview

A play produced only twice in the 1940s and now published for the first time reveals that Tennessee Williams anticipated the themes of Star Trek by decades.
Sixty years ago a young Tennessee Williams wrote a play looking toward the year 2001. Stairs to the Roof is a rare and different Williams' work: a love story, a comedy, an experiment in meta-theater, with a touch of early science fiction. Tennessee Williams called Stairs to the Roof "a prayer for the wild of heart who are kept in cages" and dedicated it to "all the little wage earners of the world." It reflects the would-be poet's "season in hell" during the Depression when he had to quit college to type orders eight hours a day at the International Shoe Factory in St. Louis.Stairs is Williams' revenge, expressed through his alter ego, Benjamin Murphy, the clerk who stages a one-man rebellion against the clock, the monotony of his eight-to-five job, and all the dehumanizing forces of an increasingly mechanized and commercial society. Ben's swift-moving series of fantastic adventures culminate in an escape from the ordinary that is an endorsement of the American dream. In 1941 with the world at war and civilization in danger of collapse, Williams dared to imagine a utopian future as Ben leads us up his stairs towards the Millennium.Stairs to the Roof was produced only twice, once at the Playbox in Pasadena, California, in 1945, and subsequently at the Pasadena Playhouse in 1947. Now, in an edition meticulously prepared by noted Williams scholar Allean Hale, Williams fans can share this play of youthful optimism.

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Editorial Reviews

Philip C. Kolin
One of Williams's most ambitious and experimental works.
Library Journal
This little-known Williams piece was produced only twice in the 1940s before disappearing from the stage. The drama concerns Benjamin Murphy, a clerk who wages a private war against workers' slavery to the clock and the growing anonymity of the average person in the mechanized world of the year 2001, when the play is set. Not one of Williams's best works, but worth considering for his rank in American theater. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811214353
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 991,135
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.40 (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.

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