Stopped Rocking and Other Screenplays

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Written at various times over the last twenty-five years but never produced, the four scripts included in Tennessee Williams’s Stopped Rocking and Other Screenplays encompass both the realistic style of “the early Williams” (the author’s quotes) and the more experimental dramatic devices of many of his “later” plays. Two screenplays from the fifties, All Gaul Is Divided and The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, remained in the files of Williams’s New Orleans apartment until a thorough cleaning uncovered them in the mid-seventies. Thus, All Gaul, an expanded version of the story of a St. Louis teacher’s dreams of love told in A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur (1978) actually predates that play. A companion piece in mood and style, The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond lyrically evokes the late twenties debutante society of Memphis and the Delta plantations. Adapted from the graphic short story of the same name, One Arm concerns a young male hustler awaiting execution for murder. Because much of the visual action is combined with a voice-over narration, Williams considered the form of this “film-play” from the late sixties somewhat experimental. In Stopped Rocking (1977), Williams returns to a familiar theme, the institution as the last haven of those who cannot cope with daily conflict and have “resigned from life.” He was confident that this play, like so many of his others, would eventually find its audience: “I know that the ’dark’ of the work is more than balanced by its humanity, and that this light of humanity will tip the balance favorably, as a natural act of grace.”

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New Directions Publishing Corporation
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