A True Story of Our Time

  • Michael Paller


Williams had thought about entering analysis as early as 1954, when he was working on Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He asked Cheryl Crawford for a referral, but if she gave him the names of any therapists, he never fol-lowed up. The fact that he was feeling sufficient psychic pressure to ask for help as he’d begun working on the play is significant in itself for what it says about his anxieties concerning the work’s materials; that he put off such help is also significant. Perhaps he thought he could overcome any anxiety through writing; perhaps he was afraid of what he might discover about his subject matter should he probe it directly, without the intervening mask of imagination and symbol. By the beginning of January 1957, however, as preparations for the Broadway production of Orpheus Descending were getting underway, he wrote Sandy Campbell, Donald Windham’s lover, that he planned to start psychoanalysis as soon as he returned to New York from Key West, at the end of the month. But rehearsals for Orpheus may have interfered. It was not until after the twin disasters of poor reviews of Orpheus Descending in the daily papers of March 22, and his father’s death five days later, that Williams went for the help he believed psychiatry could offer.1


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© Michael Paller 2005

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  • Michael Paller

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