Almost Willfully Out of Contact With the World

  • Michael Paller

Abstract

Many in the gay theatre-going audiences had always known of Williams’s homosexuality; he had never hidden his private life. Donald Vining reflected the degree to which gay audiences had embraced Williams as an icon when he wrote in his diary about the large audience of queer men who cheered at the curtain calls for The Rose Tattoo in 1951. In 1968, when Mart Crowley included references to Suddenly Last Summer in The Boys in the Band, he felt no need to explain them. This embrace of Williams by a New York gay audience would not last, however, very much beyond Crowley’s play. Changes in the social and political climate, as well as in coverage of gay playwrights in the New York press, and, most importantly, changes in the attitudes of gay men and women themselves, would turn Williams into a figure of ridicule, when not ignored altogether, for many in the emerging gay community of the early 1970s.

Keywords

Depression Beach Luminal Smoke Bark 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    William Hoffman, Gay Plays: The First Collection (New York: Avon, 1979), Introduction, xxiii-xxiv.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Steven Samuels, “Charles Ludlam, a Brief Life,” in The Complete Plays of Charles Ludlam (New York: Perennial Library, 1989), xii.Google Scholar
  3. 15.
    Richard Gilman, Common and Uncommon Masks: Writings on Theatre, 1961–1970 (New York: Random House, 1971), 144.Google Scholar
  4. 23.
    Donald Webster Cory and John P. LeRoy, The Homosexual and His Society: A View From Within (New York: The Citadel Press, 1963), 3. By 1973, Sagarin had changed his mind and, writing under his real name, affirmed that a cure was indeed possible and desirable.Google Scholar
  5. See Martin Duberman, “The ‘Father’ of the Homophile Movement” in Duberman, Left Out: The Politics of Exclusion/Essays/1964–1999 (New York: Basic Books, 1999), 59–94.Google Scholar
  6. 24.
    Howard Taubman, “Not What it Seems,” New York Times, November 5, 1961, II 1.Google Scholar
  7. 31.
    Donald M. Kaplan, “Homosexuality and American Theatre: A Psychoanalytic Comment,” Tulane Drama Review, 9, no. 3(1965): 25–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 32.
    Howard Taubman, “Modern Primer,” New York Times, April 28, 1963, II 1.Google Scholar
  9. 33.
    Martin Gottfried, “Theatre,” Women’s Wear Daily, November 12, 1965. Other references are in the text.Google Scholar
  10. 34.
    Qtd. in Allan Pierce, “Homophobia and the Critics,” Christopher Street, June 1978, 41.Google Scholar
  11. 35.
    Stanley Kauffmann, “Homosexuality,” in Persons of the Drama (New York: Harper and Row, 1976), 291–2. Further references are in the text.Google Scholar
  12. 37.
    Jerry Tallmer, “Life Sentence,” New York Post, March 15, 1967.Google Scholar
  13. 38.
    Charles Dyer, Staircase (New York: Grove Press, 1969), 34, 32.Google Scholar
  14. 39.
    Walter Kerr, “Honest, Human,” New York Times, January 21, 1968, D3Google Scholar
  15. Otis L. Guernsey, Curtain Times: The New York Theatre 1965–1987 (New York: Applause, 1987), 98.Google Scholar
  16. 40.
    Donald Vining, A Gay Diary Volume Four, 1967–1975 (New York: Pepys Press, 1983), 28. When Vining saw Joe Orton’s Loot two months later, he wrote, “There is quite a play in the author’s life but I wouldn’t try to write it because the public already thinks of the homosexual life as more violent and wretched than it is” (33).Google Scholar
  17. 41.
    Jerry Tallmer, New York Post, September 27, 1968.Google Scholar
  18. 42.
    Martin Gottfried, “Theatre: ‘The Boys in the Band’,” Women’s Wear Daily, April 16. 1968. 44.Google Scholar
  19. 43.
    Clive Barnes, “Theatre: ‘Boys in the Band’ Opens Off Broadway,” New York Times, April 15, 1968, 48: Guernsey, 98.Google Scholar
  20. 47.
    Sam Zolotow, “‘Boys in the Band’ Increases Prices,” New York Times, November 6, 1968, 34Google Scholar
  21. Sam Zolotow, “Cohen to Present Plays in London with Eye on U.S..” New York Times. April 25. 1968. 52.Google Scholar
  22. 53.
    Lee Barton, “Why Do Homosexual Playwrights Hide Their Homosexuality?” New York Times, January 23, 1972, II, 1.Google Scholar
  23. 64.
    Richard Watts, Jr., New York Post, March 3, 1972Google Scholar
  24. Harold Hobson, Sunday Times, February 4, 1973Google Scholar
  25. Ted Kalem, “Clinging to a Spar,” Time, April 17, 1972Google Scholar
  26. Tom McMorrow, “Author Rakes Stage,” New York Daily News, June 8 1972.Google Scholar
  27. 66.
    Edmund White, “Fantasia on the Seventies,” Christopher Street, September 1977, 19.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael Paller 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Paller

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations