The Theater: Clinging to a Spar


Yesterday is dead and gone

And tomorrow's out of sight

And it's sad to be alone

Help me make it through the night.

—Help Me Make It Through the Night, by Kris Kristofferson

Many of the scenes in Tennessee Williams' plays take place at night. For his characters, this is a time of terror. Alone, heart-hungry, desolate of spirit, they reach out for a voice, a touch, any kindly stranger who may help them make it through the night.

A bar is a logical place for a convocation of strangers who are terrorized yet basically humane. In the world's judgment, the characters in Small Craft...

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