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The Eccentricities of a Nightingale

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  154 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Eccentricities of a Nightingale, The, by Williams, Tennessee
Unknown Binding, 72 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Dramatists Play Service (first published January 1964)
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Jan 20, 2010 Bobby rated it did not like it
Only read this if you're interested in seeing how Tennessee Williams's talent went way downhill as he aged, and for god's sake never perform it. This is a re-working of his 1948 play SUMMER AND SMOKE, and first performed as THE ECCENTRICITIES OF A NIGHTINGALE in the 1970s. Williams succeeds in cutting or retooling everything that made his earlier work so beautiful. Instead of a wonderful doomed love story between the main characters Alma (representing old-fashioned Southern gentility a la Blanch ...more
Oct 15, 2014 Roland rated it really liked it
A vastly superior revision of Summer and Smoke. Alma's character has changed considerably...instead of being merely a prude, she's a full-on eccentric and you can see why she's an outcast. John's dad is completely removed from the story in this version, and his mother is introduced to give the story those great mommy issues that Williams is so great at. The characterizations of everyone in the story is just so much stronger than Summer and Smoke. Even Alma's dad gets a juicier role. If only we g ...more
Donna Barnett
Jun 23, 2013 Donna Barnett rated it it was amazing
I loved this play about a sensitive young woman from a home with a judgmental father and mother who has emotional outbursts. She loves a young man she grew up with. He's from a more stable family and is expected to marry someone of his class. She chooses to spend an evening with him and hold the memory for a lifetime. Very touching story and likable characters.
Jim Leckband
Jan 09, 2013 Jim Leckband rated it liked it
During my reading of Williams' plays there has to come a point when the quality dims in comparison to his masterpieces. I think this is the point. We are missing the lyricism, mystery, drama and some of the beauty that his best plays have. We do have some symbolism, Tennessee loves himself some symbolism.

The eponymous nightingale (Alma) is an eccentric-in-training of a small town Mississippi conservative town. If one reads autobiography into the play (which by all accounts, TW put it there), the
Jan 01, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it
Interestingly, The Eccentricities of the Nightingale was derived from Tennessee Williams' previously written Summer and Smoke. The same characters and settings are used in both plays, and in his notes Williams says that he preferred The Eccentricities because it is "less conventional and melodramatic" than Summer and Smoke. I'm not so sure I'd judge it less conventional and dramatic than Summer and Smoke, although the plays are different, and the characters are still pretty tragic.
Apr 25, 2013 Jeff rated it liked it
I liked this. It is definitely minor Williams--thin, with echoes of other major works--but there is well-earned pathos here. I have not read Summer and Smoke yet, so I will have to see if this is a considerable step down.
Feb 22, 2016 Brandon rated it liked it
A re-working of Summer and Smoke but I like S&S a lot better. It's been a while since I've read S&S so I can't say exactly why that is, but it is. I wonder why Tennessee preferred this re-worked version.
Anna Sinclair
Jun 09, 2016 Anna Sinclair rated it really liked it
Tennessee Williams is the Captain of sailing the emotional ocean. His characters are fully developed and you laugh and cry with them. If thinking of reading this, you should read Summer and Smoke first.
Michelle Jardine
Dec 27, 2014 Michelle Jardine rated it liked it
I haven't read Summer and Smoke but I found this play enjoyable. The main characters are constructed well, with depth and purpose. Some of the dialogue in the latter scenes is a little hurried and the epilogue could be more clear. Overall, a tragic but worthwhile read.
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Thomas Lanier Williams III, better known by the nickname Tennessee Williams, was a major American playwright of the twentieth century who received many of the top theatrical awards for his work. He moved to New Orleans in 1939 and changed his name to "Tennessee," the state of his father's birth. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ...more
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