A House Not Meant To Stand
Theater by Tennessee Williams
Edited by Thomas Keith
With a contribution by Thomas Keith Gregory Mosher
Christmas 1982: Cornelius and Bella McCorkle of Pascagoula, Mississippi, return home one midnight in a thunderstorm from the Memphis funeral of their older son to a house and a life literally falling apart—daughter Joanie is in an insane asylum and their younger son Charlie is upstairs having sex with his pregnant, holy-roller girlfriend as the McCorkles enter. Cornelius, who has political ambitions and a litany of health problems, is trying to find a large amount of moonshine money his gentle wife Bella has hidden somewhere in their collapsing house, but his noisy efforts are disrupted by a stream of remarkable characters, both living and dead. While Williams often used drama to convey hope and desperation in human hearts, it was through this dark, expressionistic comedy, which he called a “Southern gothic spook sonata,” that he was best able to chronicle his vision of the fragile state of our world.