Tennessee Williams by Mr. Ronald Hayman
Everyone Else Is an Audience

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Synopsis

Few playwrights write as much of their lives into every work as did Tennessee Williams, and few had lives that were so obviously theatrical. Growing up amid abusive alcoholism, genteel posturing, and the incipient madness of his beloved sister, Rose, Williams produced plays in which violence exploded into rape, castration, and even cannibalism, projecting dramatic personal traumas. In this frank, compelling study, the distinguished biographer and critic Ronald Hayman explores the intersection of biography and art in one of the most exuberantly autobiographical dramatists of the American theatre. By the time he died, in 1983, Williams's reputation had seriously declined. More than twenty years of drug and alcohol addiction, coupled with devastating openness about his promiscuous homosexuality, had all but destroyed one of America's greatest playwrights, while Williams's new works were increasingly unsuccessful. In recent years, however, Broadway revivals and amateur productions have testified to his enduring greatness as one of the shapers of American theatre. The major plays, such as 'The Glass Menagerie', 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', and 'A Streetcar Named Desire', never disappeared from American theatrical consciousness. Their heroes - Tom Wingfield, Brick Pollitt, even Blanche Du Bois - are portraits of the artist as a very troubled man. Hayman explores the life and writings of Tennessee Williams and shows how they were linked. More than any previous biographer, he unmasks the compulsive, driven man behind the characters and lays bare the pain that engendered Williams's violent apocalypses. 'Tennessee Williams' will change the way lovers of drama experience and understand some of its finest achievements.
 

About Mr. Ronald Hayman

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Ronald Hayman was born in Bournemouth and grew up in a hotel there. After studying English at St Paul's and Trinity Hall in Cambridge, Hayman went to drama school in London. While there, he began working as an actor in repertory theatre and in television. Hayman's first play, The End of an Uncle, was produced in 1959. In 1967, after directing plays by Genet, Goldoni, and Brecht at the Arts Theatre, Stratford East and Welwyn Garden City, Hayman started writing books and broadcasting. Then, in his book Hitler and Geli, Hayman explored the remarkable, yet relatively obscure, story of the affair between Adolf Hitler and his young niece Geli Raubal, who died under mysterious circumstances. Some of Hayman's other works include exposes on Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter and Arthur Miller, and biographies of Sylvia Plath, Jean-Paul Sartre, the Marquis de Sade, and Tennessee Williams.
 
Published February 23, 1994 by Yale University Press. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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A thought played on by Elia Kazan when first mounting A Streetcar Named Desire seems pivotal to understanding Williams, who as a younger man often picked up rough trade and was sometimes beaten up, a fear that becomes central to the Blanche-Stanley polarity, with Williams as Blanche and Stanley t...

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Publishers Weekly

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Hayman ( Proust: A Biography ) analyzes the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) in a study that emphasizes the extent to which Williams based his plays on the event

Feb 21 1994 | Read Full Review of Tennessee Williams: Everyone ...

Entertainment Weekly

What's missing in Tennessee Williams: Everyone ELSE is an Audience, is cultural context-why Williams' lush pessimism was so liberating in the clamped-down '50s and so passe by the late '60s, when he went into a nonstop decline.

Apr 01 1994 | Read Full Review of Tennessee Williams: Everyone ...

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