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Tennessee Williams in Provincetown Paperback – October 2, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: Hansen Publishing Group, LLC; 1st edition (October 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601824211
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601824219
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #602,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


On judging a book by its cover: Depending on the p.o.v., one could either be drawn into or turned off by the depiction of an unseasoned, nubile, nude Tennessee (cut off discreetly at the waist) against a vibrant blue background above the dunes and edged in shocking pink. Since this is a slim paperbound volume, some snap judgments might be drawn. They would most likely all be wrong. What Kaplan, Williams specialist and "curator" of the newly inaugurated Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival, has done is to produce a carefully researched scholarly monograph concentrating on the four summers (1940, 41, 44, 47) that Williams spent in P-town.... Much of the story told here by Kaplan is new material. He dug into archives, interviewed many survivors of the P-town days, and found the original text of the one-act play "The Parade," that was wrenched from the anguished Williams after the loss of his first love Kip Kiernan (Bernard Dubowsky), a twenty-two year old Canadian dancer. The play, says Kaplan, written in July and August of 1940, was lost, like the love it depicts, and not rediscovered until years later.... Recommended for all theater collections and personally for Williams afficionados. RICHARD M. BUCK, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (Retired). Copyright 2007 Theatre Library Association. All rights reserved. --Broadside, vol 34, no 2 (Winter 2007)

About the Author

David Kaplan is an author and theater director who stages plays around the world with professional companies in indigenous languages and settings. He is a former Fellow at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center in Austin, Texas, the repository of Tennessee Williams' literary estate. He has experience directing Williams' repertory around the world. In 2003 Mr. Kaplan staged Tennessee Williams' The Eccentricities of a Nightingale in Cantonese at the Hong Kong Repertory Theater. Seasons past include directing the first Russian production of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer (the subject of a TASS documentary), a Sufi King Lear in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, performed in the Uzbek language and broadcast on Uzbek television; Genet's The Maids in Ulaan Baator, Mongolia, performed in Mongolian. In America he has staged his own adaptation of The Circus of Dr. Lao in Los Angeles, Tennessee Williams' The Traveling Companion at WestBeth in New York, and Williams' Frosted Glass Coffins in Birmingham, Alabama. He is the curator of the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival. David Kaplan is also the author of Five Approaches to Acting (West Broadway Press, Spring 2001, Italian edition, Dino Audino Editore, Roma September 2003) and articles on such varied subjects as Eudora Welty and Andres Segovia, the history of Shakespeare productions in Central Asia, the American monologist Ruth Draper, the twenty-first century freaks of Coney Island USA. His translations of Chinese poetry from eighteenth century Japan will appear in the journal Alehouse early 2007.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 11, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In what David Kaplan in the "Preface" calls a monograph rather than a biography, TENNESSEE WILLIAMS IN PROVINCETOWN covers four brief seasons in the playwright's life spent at what he described in his MEMOIRS as "the frolicsome tip of the Cape," 1940, 1941, 1944 and 1947. Williams was 29 when he first went to the Cape in 1940. It was there that he had his first brief love affair and also met the man he was to spend 14 years or his life with, Frank Merlo. It was a time of youthful abandon, innocence, great expectations, disciplined mornings as a writer and nights of sexual freedom that Provincetown provided.

Mr. Kaplan acknowledges that much of Williams' Provincetown story has been covered by other biographers and gives them credit, including voluminous footnotes as well as a bibliography here. He also indicates that he was able to interview several persons still living who knew Williams during this time in his life and offers new information including material published for the first time: (For instance, the poem "Request" with the lines, "Remember me as one of your lovers,/not the greatest of these, not the least,/but in some small way distinguished from all of the others/Remember me, in the end, please, as one of your lovers.")

The author also managed to uncover unpublished photographs of Williams, along with shots of his first love Kip Kiernan and his hot-blooded lover Pancho Rodriguez. According to Kaplan, as Williams became more famous, he was sought out for sex by people wanting to sleep with a rising playwright. On the other hand, he was quite a looker, as the nude photographs here indicate, and was very successful as well in trysts with strangers.

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Travel Imaginator on November 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
Tennessee Williams in Provincetown sheds much needed insight on what is too often perceived as "murky" regarding Williams' accomplishments. Author David Kaplan vigorously asserts that excessive scrutiny on Williams' complicated and often chaotic life obscured his literary accomplishments. While Williams' time in Provincetown was limited, his writings bore fruit for future works including Night of the Iguana, Sudden Last Summer among others. Kaplan also advises that Tennesse Williams, struggling with whatever demons, still made the effort of regular, disciplined work throughout his life. Kaplan's descriptions of the Provincetown Williams partook of during the early 1940's is evocative and atmospheric. Among the anecdotes is a charming recounting of meeting actress Tallulah Bankhead, and their ensuing friendship. Kaplan identifies striking parallels of Williams with another Provincetown "alumnus" playwright Eugene O'Neill. This ably researched monograph results in a highly admirable brief and defense of Tennessee Williams' legacy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Claps on May 13, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're familiar with the myriad bios on TW out there, you won't find many new bits here. Definitely treat yourself to reading "Something Cloudy Something Clear" alongside "TW in Provincetown". Despite never being quite certain what is autobio and what is wishful thinking in this play, it certainly gives you an invocation of the era more than "TW in Provincetown" does. As a record of gaylife in the WWII era, the book could've been a little more indepth on the subject - I'm not sure how many gay men & women were able to enjoy their lifestyles as much as TW did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Helen A. Harrison on May 24, 2009
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A fascinating glimpse into Williams' formative experiences in one of this country's most enchanting and stimulating art colonies. Kaplan has struck the perfect balance between the writer's private and creative lives.
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