One of America’s most controversial and acclaimed dramatists, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Tennessee Williams would have celebrated his centennial this year. Join the UM Department of Theatre & Drama as scholars, playwrights and theatre artists gather to share their perspectives on Tennessee Williams’ impact on American theatre, the American consciousness, and the world theatre, and his enduring influence on writers throughout the last century and continuing into the present one. Presented in conjunction with the Department's production of Williams' Suddenly Last Summer, the Tennesee Williams @ 100 Conference is a celebration of the work of this prolific playwright.
Our keynote speaker is award-winning playwright Christopher Durang, who will reflect on his connections to Tennessee Williams’ work and share hilarious excerpts from his parody Desire, Desire, Desire. Free and open to the public, Mr. Durang's address is on October 12 at 7:00pm in Stamps Auditorium.
Panels during the first three days of the conference feature noted scholars, directors and artists who will present papers and discuss the genius of Williams’ texts in performance. Led by Kenneth T. Rowe Professor of Dramatic Literature, Professors of Theatre Enoch Brater, Leigh Woods, and E.J. Westlake, and Philip Kerr (Director of Suddenly Last Summer and Claribel Baird Halstead Professor of Theatre), the panels will discuss themes such as identity, sexuality, race, religion, age class, and culture, as they relate to the body of Williams’ work.
In addition to the Department's production of Suddenly Last Summer, the Residential College of the University will present three works: performances of the one-acts The Parade and Talk to Me in the Rain as well as a staged reading of Something Cloudy, Something Clear. Basement Arts, the Department's student-run company presents Durang's For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, a parody of Williams' The Glass Menagerie. Additionally, there will be a screening of the film version of Suddenly Last Summer with a discussion led by Frank Beaver, Professor Emeritus of Speech and Communications.
Most conference events take place in the Walgreen Drama Center located at 1226 Murfin Drive on the University of Michigan’s North Campus. Parking is available and bus service from Main Campus is very convenient. For more details, see our directions page.
— Photos: Header - Courtesy Eve Berliner; Top - Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection. Bottom - photo by Susan Johann ©, courtesy of Christopher Durang