Tennessee Williams and Elia Kazan: A Collaboration in the Theatre

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This is the first book-length study of the collaboration between Tennessee Williams and Elia Kazan. Their intense creative relationship, fueled by a deep personal affinity that endured until Williams's death, lasted from 1947 until 1960. The production of A Streetcar Named Desire established Williams as America's greatest playwright and Kazan as its most important director. Working with producers Irene Selznick and Cheryl Crawford, designers Jo Mielziner and Lemuel Ayers, and actors such as Marlon Brando, Jessica Tandy, Paul Newman, and Burl Ives, Williams and Kazan created some of the most important theatrical events of the post-war era. In this book Brenda Murphy analyzes this artistic partnership and the plays and theatrical techniques the artists developed collaboratively in their productions of A Streetcar Named Desire, Camino Real, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Sweet Bird of Youth. In addition, Murphy suggests new ways to examine the working relationship between playwright and director which can be applied to other practitioners in twentieth-century drama. The book will be of interest to students and scholars of theatre history and American literature as well as to practitioners. It contains numerous illustrations from important productions.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
By dissecting four collaborations between playwright Williams and director Kazan, Murphy defines the unique symbiosis that produced the Fifties' finest drama. Rather than Williams being ``weak'' and Kazan a bully, as critics charge, she shows that Williams deliberately sought the director's input in the earliest stages of a script and that much of what seems uniquely Williams stems from Kazan's inspirations. Using archives and reminiscences (although not Kazan's still-sealed papers), Murphy traces A Streetcar Named Desire and three other plays from earliest seeds ( Streetcar set in Chicago!) to first performance. Highly recommended for literature and theater collections.-- Shelley Cox, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521035248
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 236
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
1 Tennessee Williams and Elia Kazan: the aesthetic matrix 1
2 Subject and object: A Streetcar Named Desire 16
3 Realism and fantasy: Camino Real 64
4 Presentation and representation: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 97
5 Realism and metatheatre: Sweet Bird of Youth 131
Notes 165
Select bibliography 178
Index 195
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