“In creating women’s roles,” Kaplan says, “Williams understood that women leading real lives, as Blanche points out in Streetcar, have had to create illusions for themselves—and for others—in order to survive.”

Veiled Power

In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, produced on Broadway in 1955, the central female character of Maggie is a resourceful, determined, charismatic character that relies on her sexuality and her intelligence to win back a wayward husband. In his book Memoirs,  Williams indicates that Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was his favorite play. “The play comes closest to being both a work of art and a work of craft,” Williams wrote.

The upcoming production of Cat at the Provincetown festival was recently presented at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater. The production stars well-known actor Keir Dullea as Big Daddy, Mia Dillon as Big Mama, Steven DeMarco as Brick, and Madeleine Lambert as Maggie.

Veiled Power

“In all his plays,” Kaplan says, “Williams celebrates illusion, the making of illusion, and the makers of illusion.” He adds: “Williams lived long enough to see the roles of women change in society, and [his] strategies for creating the illusion of a woman onstage changed as well, especially as time went on. [He included] in his later plays more humor, especially self-aware humor. Fragile grace got replaced with powerful grace, often combined with powerful laughter.”

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