Many Loves and Other Plays: The Collected Plays of William Carlos Williams

Many Loves and Other Plays: The Collected Plays of William Carlos Williams

Many Loves and Other Plays: The Collected Plays of William Carlos Williams

Many Loves and Other Plays: The Collected Plays of William Carlos Williams


For this volume, originally published in cloth in 1961, William Carlos Williams collected, and revised, four full-length plays and the libretto of an opera on George Washington. As might be expected of the man who did most in our time to create a new and truly “American” idiom for poetry, Dr. Williams’ writing for the stage challenges producers and actors to extend the range of modern drama. Many Loves, which ran for nearly a year (1959) in repertory at New York’s famous Living Theatre, explores four varieties of human attachment, while A Dream of Love, first produced in 1949, is a penetrating and poetic treatment of infidelity and marriage. Tituba’s Children, written three years before Arthur Miller’s Crucible, is a dramatic study of witch-hunting – the Salem trials of 1692 and McCarthyism in the 1950’s. The First President was first published in 1936. It is preceded by a long introduction on the theory of opera, the role of music, and the problems of realizing a historic figure on the stage. The Cure (1960) reminds us that Dr. Williams was for forty-two years a practicing physician. Its theme, developed in a very unusual situation, is the relationship between nurse and patient.


The living room of the Thurbers' home, a rather oldfashioned house, built probably in the early 1900's, in a suburb near New York. It is evening--just after dark--in the early fall. the time is a few years previous to the Second World War. the fittings of the room are somewhat somber, with an appearance of settled home surroundings. in the middle of the room, at the back, is a large davenport couch with pillows at both ends; on the wall above this couch is a large modernist painting done in bold primary colors and with a white frame--the only object of the sort in the room. the entrance to the room is toward the rear on the right through a pair of double folding glass doors in front of which, forward along the wall, is an antique side-table with some books on it. in the middle of the left wall is a shallow bay window which looks out upon the street; in its embrasure there is a comfortable overstuffed chair. a floor-lamp, which gives off a rather dim light, stands to the left of the couch. the window shades are half drawn, but admitting the beams of a powerful street-lamp. the rattle of bus traffic is occasionally heard outside.

Mrs. Thurber is lying asleep on the couch. She has a blanket over her and the light from the floor-lamp catches her blond hair.

There is the noise of a door closing somewhere outside, followed by footsteps coming through the house. Suddenly the hall lights are snapped on, the light showing through the glass doors.

"Doc" Thurber comes in from the hallway and turns up the light of the floor-lamp. He takes off his overcoat and drops it carelessly on a chair, then stands looking down at his wife who does not immediately awaken.

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