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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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Catastrophe of Success

 

Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the FleshTennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh
(2014/09/04)
John Lahr

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「欲望という名の電車」を見て、作家そのものに関心を持ったので、John LahrのTennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Fleshを読んでみました。残念ながら全米図書賞は逃しましたが、Finalistになった本です。正直、ガラスの動物園と欲望という名の電車ぐらいしか知らなかったのですが、それ以外にも舞台や映画で重要作品を生み出していったのですね。



この本がどういうものかは下記のニューヨークタイムズの紹介記事がわかりやすいです。子供時代の話題はほとんどなく、劇作家デビューの頃から書き始めたのは以下のような理由だそうです。

A Playwright Named Desire: The Battle for Art and Sanity
John Lahr’s Biography of Tennessee Williams

By JENNIFER SCHUESSLERSEPT. 1, 2014

Published in 1995, Mr. Leverich’s “Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams,” the first of two planned volumes, drew strong reviews for its excavation of the years up to 1945, when the wild success of “The Glass Menagerie” made Williams famous. And now, Mr. Lahr, who inherited Leverich’s archives upon his death in 1999, has finished the job, after a fashion, with a free-standing book that begins with that play’s Broadway opening night but circles back to cut a fresh path through his life.

Mr. Lahr’s book, to be published on Sept. 22 by W. W. Norton, offers plenty of backstage anecdotes and high private drama, if perhaps less sex than his subtitle, taken from a 1939 letter, might suggest. But Mr. Lahr, ever the critic, keeps the plays themselves front and center.


この本はスキャンダラスな作家の人生を書くのではなく、劇作品を中心に制作過程などを取り上げていくスタイルをとっています。欲望という名の電車のブランチはむしろウィリアム自身が投影されていたと書かれていました。

Among Williams scholars, it has also stirred hope that the fog of gossip and sensationalism surrounding Williams’s life, much of it stoked by the playwright’s own scandalous (and often unreliable) 1975 memoir, will finally lift.

“Most previous efforts have tended to sensationalize, or have been very narrow,” said Thomas Keith, a consulting editor at New Directions, Williams’s publisher, who contributed a chronology to Mr. Lahr’s book. “John has really humanized the life and brought the focus back to the work.”




そして、制作過程で欠かせなかったのは、エージェントのWoodと演出家・監督のエリアカザンの役割です。カザンとここまで深い協力関係があるとは知りませんでした。

The story of Tennessee Williams review – John Lahr’s ‘compulsively readable’ biography
Sex and madness: the troubled playwright who released US theatre from its puritanical straitjacket

Sarah Churchwell
Wednesday 29 October 2014 09.00 GMT

Lahr’s book was conceived as a sequel to Lyle Leverich’s 1995 Tom, a biography of Williams’s early years that ends in 1944. Lahr starts in 1945, with The Glass Menagerie, but never fully explains Williams’s childhood. Gaps and repetitions ensue, along with confusing sequences that tell us of Williams’s emotional reactions to events we haven’t yet encountered. Rose’s lobotomy, so central to Williams’s emotional life, and thus to his art, is related in a piecemeal way that will surely confuse readers unfamiliar with it. Williams’s own serious nervous breakdown at the age of 24 is dispensed with in a sentence. Anecdotes repeated in close proximity betray the book’s 12‑year gestation, its mutation from a sequel to a “stand-alone biography” that doesn’t always stand alone.

These are the book’s weaknesses; its strengths are redemptive, and stem from Lahr’s years of work as a theatre critic. It is compulsively readable, thoroughly researched and exemplary when it comes to the productions. Lahr is especially good on Williams’s long-term collaborations with director Elia Kazan and agent Audrey Wood, who together ensured that the finest actors of a generation – Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, Geraldine Page, Maureen Stapleton and Eli Wallach – brought Williams’s plays to life. Lahr declares Kazan’s partnership with Williams “the most influential in 20th‑century American theatre”, and it is hard to disagree. Kazan “rallied him out of his writing blocks, challenged his melodramatic excesses, chivied him to work for greater depth, and allowed his imagination to soar”.


このガーディアンの書評ではウィリアムズがセクシュアリティを演劇で取り上げたことを肯定的に評価しています。

Williams also released US theatre from its puritanical straitjacket, liberating it into an erotic space that acknowledged the dark alleys and twisted paths of adult sexuality. For Williams, Eros may save us, or it may savage us. His plays exploded the virgin/whore stereotype; he was the first American playwright to grant women erotic sensibilities (The Rose Tattoo can claim to be the first US play to celebrate female sexuality) and he was the first to eroticise men as sexual objects.

本を読むことで、彼のデビューは終戦直後でもあり世間が解放感に満ちていたこと、そして、時が過ぎ1970年代になると、時代が性の解放に進み、今度はウィリアムズの性的嗜好を明らかにしない態度が非難されるようになるというように、アメリカの時代を感じることもできました。

ちょうど5月にウィリアムズのOrpheus Descendingが日本のキャストで公演されるようです。


地獄のオルフェウス

チケットピアの紹介文です。

呼び起こされる青春の痛みと情熱…!T・ウィリアムズ渾身の傑作戯曲!!
主人公レイディ・トーランスに大竹しのぶ、青年ヴァルにはストレート・プレイ初挑戦の三浦春馬が決定。ほか名実共に魅力溢れる豪華キャストが集結!

偏見と慣習に囚われた小さなコミュニティ。愛のない結婚をし、淡々と日常を生きる女の前に現れたひとりの青年。彼が放つ違和感は波紋のように広がって人々の欲望を触発していく…。繊細な人物造形と詩的なセリフの数々。観る者すべての心に、青春の痛みと情熱を呼び起こすT・ウィリアムズ作品の魅力に溢れています。
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