Though the critical response to "Summer and Smoke" was lukewarm when it premiered in and the play quickly shuttered, Williams never stopped rewriting and refining it, until this version, retitled "The Eccentricities of a Nightingale," debuted in New York in —where it too had a short stay, a mere 24 performances. The result is a sometimes gentle, sometimes brutal indictment of how our unflattering instinct to marginalize and discard others different from ourselves can destroy a life or lives, including that of one Thomas Lanier Williams. This version of the story presents Alma less as repressed spinster and more as complete obsessive, while the object of her misguided affections, young doctor-next-door John Buchanan, has been reformed from drunken womanizer to decent, well-behaved son with an earnest interest in his neurotic neighbor. Jason Dechert has more success creating a Dr.

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Jun 23, Donna Barnett rated it it was amazing I loved this play about a sensitive young woman from a home with a judgmental father and mother who has emotional outbursts. She loves a young man she grew up with. She chooses to spend an evening with him and hold the memory for a lifetime. Very touching story and likable characters.

Jul 03, robin friedman rated it it was amazing The Eccentricities Of A Nightingale Alma Winemiller, the primary character of this Tennessee Williams play, is a young woman and a singer who has acquired the nickname "The Nightingale of the Delta". Williams wrote and revised this play, "The Eccentricities of a Nightingale", over a lengthy period of time before its publication in and first performance in New York City in John Buchanan, Jr.

The play is set in Glorious Hill, a small fictitious Mississippi town of about 5, people, in the years just before WW I. Since childhood, Alma has been in love with the boy next door, John Buchanan. The son of a town physician, John has himself just graduated from medical school and faces a promising future. It is not only Mrs. Alma also suffers from hysteria for which she takes medication. Reverend Winemiller tries to persuade his daughter to conform to the extent she is able to the mores of the small Southern town.

Late Christmas Eve, Alma suffers from hysterical symptoms and seeks medical assistance from John. The play concludes some years later as Alma returns to the hotel which rents rooms by the hour with a traveling salesman who pays for her services.

Young Dr. Buchanan comes and goes from the scene to allow Williams to concentrate on his heroine, a frail, artistic, and creative woman destined to the life of an outsider and eccentric. In one of many important moments in the play, John says to Alma: "You should be proud of yourself.

I thought it valuable to discuss "The Eccentricities of a Nightingale" on its own in the body of this review without comparing it to its predecessor. The plays share the same two primary characters and the same setting but are otherwise two separate works. The latter play concentrates on Alma and develops her as a person while Williams saw the earlier work as more abstract and as showing the tension between body and soul -- flesh and spirit.

Williams preferred the later play.


The Eccentricities of a Nightingale

She, ineffably refined, identifies with the Gothic cathedral, "reaching up to something beyond attainment"; her name, as Williams makes clear during the play, means "soul" in Spanish; whereas Buchanan, doctor and sensualist, defies her with the soulless anatomy chart. She has been transformed beyond modesty. The play ran for performances, and at the time, represented a downturn in popularity for Williams following his successful A Streetcar Named Desire. Her performance has been credited with helping to launch the Off-Broadway movement, putting both herself and Quintero on the map, and vindicating the play. She also portrayed Alma Winemiller in the film opposite Laurence Harvey , earning an Academy Award nomination as did Una Merkel playing her mother. The Broadway premiere of the revised version titled The Eccentricities of a Nightingale was staged in Aldredge , lighting by Marc B.


Eccentricities of a Nightingale




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