This new collection of fantastic, lesser-known one-acts contains some of Williams’s most potent, comical and disturbing short plays―Upper East Side ladies dine out during the apocalypse in Now the Cats With Jeweled Claws, while the poet Hart Crane is confronted by his mother at the bottom of the ocean in Steps Must Be Gentle. Five previously unpublished plays include A Recluse and His Guest, and The Strange Play,in which we witness a woman’s entire life lived within a twenty-four-hour span. This volume is edited, with an introduction and notes, by the editor, acting teacher, and theater scholar Thomas Keith.
In A Recluse and His Guest, America’s most poetic playwright brings to life an entire relationship of depth and intimacy, from the first meeting to the last, in an astonishingly short amount of time.
— Todd Stuart Phillips, One Man’s World
The Demolition Downtown wrings laughter from the plight of a couple whose lives have been ruined by a new political order bent upon demolishing, literally and otherwise, the lives of its citizens.
— Eric Marchese, Backstage, Los Angeles
Williams was always confronting the future; a shaman with a typewriter, he dug into the darkest depths of the American psyche in search of dramatic truths.
— Randy Gener, American Theatre
I do not want to reveal too many of The Strange Play’s secrets—its embrace of a whimsical, ethereal, and, yes, strange, world is most pleasing when it is a surprise to the audience.
— Bess Rowen, The Huffington Post
The fact that This Is the Peaceable Kingdom takes place in New York puts a whole different spin on the play and gives the poetry a different kind of starkness.
— Mallery Avidon, Brooklyn Rail
The Strange Play and Ivan’s Widow make for intriguing theater, both in their own right and as a part of the legacy of Tennessee Williams—a playwright who prowled the world’s dark corners long before, and long after, he shone under the bright lights of Broadway.
— Brad Rhines, The New Orleans Advocate
Steps Must Be Gentle provides a tantalizing peek into Williams’s preoccupation with death, suicide, and creativity.
— Tom Valeo, Chicago Reader
This absurdist satire introduces us to New York ladies who lunch. And yet theatergoers will still warmly recognize the unmistakable literary voice in Now the Cats with Jeweled Claws.
— Jason Zinnoman, The New York Times
From Williams, it seems, there are treasures to be plundered still.
— Laura Collins-Hughes, The New York Times
You won’t forget Now The Cats with Jeweled Claws—I’ve seen quite a few late-period Williams curios but this mesmerizing 1981 piece may be the most demented of them all.
— Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Post
In A Recluse and His Guest, Williams skillfully breaks our hearts.
— David Clark, OUT Magazine
A Recluse and His Guest has remarkable language; indeed one listens for how the Master keeps showing up in late-career scripts.
— Hilton Als, The New Yorker
Mr. Williams is a master of the short play
— Clive Barnes, The New York Times
Now the Cats With Jeweled Claws is a loopy send-up of New York society, written in a gleefully absurdist mode.
— Bruce Weber, The New York Times
Williams’ late experiments in ordered anarchy and avant-garde European aesthetics were … very much earned, very much his distinctive own. Williams’ dramaturgy is still ahead of our time.