Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Night of the Iguana by Tennessee Williams

I just finished reading The Night of the Iguana, a play by Tennessee Williams. Actually, I read it twice. The first time through I played Charlotte Goodall, the lusty 16-year-old in love with the wanton minister-turn-tour guide, Reverend Shannon. The second time I was Hannah Jelkes, the virginal artist-spinster traveling with Jonathan Coffin, her grandfather and world's oldest living and practicing poet. It pains me to admit that I made a better Hannah. I think my Charlotte days are over. Pity.

But seriously, the real pity is that plays don't hit the bookstores like their prose counterparts. Theatrical writing, when done well, is truly impressive. It amazes me how much can be conveyed about the human experience using only a thin web of dialogue and the odd stage direction. I came across this particular copy of the script because the Geneva English Drama Society had posted an audition call. Had I not toyed with the idea of auditioning, I have no clue how I would have come across a copy, particularly here in Geneva. It's true, I haven't lived in North America for a while, so maybe the bookstores are packed with the works of contemporary playwrights, but I have my doubts.

So, what is my opinion of Mr. Williams' The Night of the Iguana? It's certainly worth seeing performed. Will I attend the auditions? Maybe, but only as a spectator. I think my life has enough drama for the moment without an iguana.

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