The Theater: Down and Out in N.O.


by TENNESSEE WILLIAMS "Yes . . . I have things up my sleeve.

But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion. " —Tom's opening speech in The Glass Menagerie.

Tom, of course, is the thinly disguised stand-in for Tennessee Williams.

In his later, lesser plays, among which Vieux Carre belongs, the sleeve has grown emptier, the illusion scantier, the truths more repetitive. As he has had less to say, Williams has adopted an assertive, confessional way of saying it, as if the...

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