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Chapter 7: Decline and… Comeback. The Last 50 Years: 1965–2015

Chapter 7: Decline and… Comeback. The Last 50 Years: 1965–2015

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incapable of getting rid of their traumas and complexes. They are resistant

to normal life.” After rejecting the subject matter as a whole, and defining

the author “half Puritan, half Beat,” he closed his piece with appreciation

for Ritratto di ragazza in vetro (“Portrait of a Girl in Glass”), Il campo dei

bambini azzurri (“The Field of Blue Children”), which he termed “probably the most beautiful story in the collection” and La cosa importante

(“The Important Thing”). Also in the latter, though, he again accused

the writer of “exacerbating sexual issues,” not to mention L’Apollo monco

(“One Arm”), where he thought Williams “tried to sanctify the protagonist’s perversion” (Bertocci 1967). As I have argued in the previous chapters, the late 1950s and early 1960s were years of quite harsh opposition to

any artistic expression that seemed to deviate from the norm of Catholic

and middle-class ethics. Italian censorship worked in many ways, not all

of them explicit, toward such “scandalous” artists as Pier Paolo Pasolini,

Giovanni Testori, Vitaliano Brancati, or Federico Fellini, to name just a

few Italian ones. Politicians, as well as some intellectuals, were trying to

keep at bay the forces of change that were about to explode from 1968

on. Williams was more exposed to charges of immorality for his plays and

films, but even his stories, though they had a narrower distribution, could

not avoid judgmental reactions.

Exactly because Williams’ fiction was a less “public” art than theater

and film, it garnered the attention of scholars more than his “popular”

art forms had managed to do. One critic, specialized in English and

American literature, refused to take these stories as indictments of the

evils of US society, for which “there is no historical or even simply psychological explanation.” In this “second-rate Southern mythology … his

creatures are always bordering on pathology and neurosis and lack any

human depth.” Again “Portrait of a Girl in Glass.” “The Field of Blue

Children,” and “The Important Thing” are considered as the best stories,

where the author touches on “obscurely animal reactions and adolescent

traumas” and “poetically” portrays “a hard adolescence made of morbid

and incoherent dreams, false spirituality, suffocated regrets and romances”

(Amoruso 1967).

At the opposite end of the critical spectrum there was another academic,

who lamented how Williams’ theater had become commercial, while his

short stories, with “his painful irony, his slightly perverse satire, his scornful descriptions of atmospheres, show his most authentic qualities. …

The level is extremely high” (Gorlier 1966). What had been considered

a meaningless social and environmental background by other reviewers,



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was here understood as a key to Williams’ style, marked by symbolism

and some sort of determinism that justified the recurring claustrophobic

Southern settings. These features were also addressed by a journalist who

extolled the book “not only because it clarifies and explains many themes

and situations of the playwright, but also because it reveals his unsuspected strong and sturdy narrative gifts … as the events unfold, and he

describes actions and contrasts on the background of the loneliness, the

poverty, the squalor of the American lower classes.” The atmosphere here

is the same as in his plays, the reviewer went on, and these “unforgettable

figures” have lost everything and are left only with “the alienating reality of evil … which lies in things rather than in people. … The hopeless

American underworld bears witness to the tragedy that encompasses all.”

“This happens in every story,” he added. He cited characters rather than

titles: Oliver Winemiller (from “One Arm”), the poet from the eponymous story, and Anthony Burns (from “Desire and the Black Masseur”),

quite a different choice from that of the previously mentioned reviewers. Williams’ traditional narrative style, he concluded, was unlike that of

Kerouac “and the other beats,” though prompted by the same “human

and cultural motives” (Mauro 1967).

“One Arm” features again as the outstanding piece of the collection, the

“most tragic one,” according to a reviewer who maintained that Williams

was “one of the most interesting literary cases of the past thirty years.”

There is no need to react with scandal to the sexual themes, he concluded,

for the artist’s personality was “outrageous, at times disproportionate, but

in his own way pure, and dealt with ancient, disturbing, but extremely

modern issues” (Surchi 1967). A blurb in the newspaper L’Unità likewise

presented the stories as “all but marginal in Williams’ art. Quite the opposite, they allow a deeper understanding of his poetic world. Like few other

writers, Williams can conjure up the loneliness of today’s man, lost in a

forest of hostile symbols.” (“I racconti” 1967)



“CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT THIRTY YEARS AGO…”

In spite of this partially happy season, the second half of the 1960s were

the worst years in terms of commercial success and critical esteem in Italy

for Tennessee Williams. Even when his conversion to Catholicism in 1969

hit the news and was covered by all major publications in Italy, some

journalists linked the author’s personal crisis to his artistic one and rarely

lost the opportunity to underscore his professional decline (“Tennessee”



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1969, 52; Costantini 1969). Others considered his conversion as a goal

towards which his previous writings and life experiences were inevitably

leading (Cimnaghi 1969; Perini 1969).

As had always happened since the beginning of the Italians’ interest

towards Williams, once again the whole range of opinions was given voice

and one particularly compassionate journalist praised the playwright like

no one had done for years. According to him, Williams was by far the

best US playwright of the time, “never commercial, never abstruse, never

fashionable, as were his luckier and more famous colleagues, like Arthur

Miller, for example.” Reading all his production in the light of the conversion to Catholicism (as if being raised a Protestant could not have provided him with a spiritual perspective), the journalist insisted that all the

themes and situations that had been “considered as pornographic … were

indeed pleas for understanding and piety” (Anselmi 1969).

The widespread coverage of Williams’ religious conversion marked a

peak after which the interest of Italian media towards him dramatically

decreased throughout all the following decade and was only reversed

at the time of his death. In the meantime, in Italy, as in most Western

countries, the aesthetics of theater and drama were undergoing profound

changes that affected many of the conventions not only of stage direction

but of theater as a whole. Some theater historians link the new theater

with the Civil Rights Movements, which, in turn, were quite theatrical in

their public visibility, but the changes had older roots, both in the USA

and in Europe, going back at least to the early 1950s. The first manifesto

of the new dramatic avant garde in Italy was penned in 1967 during a

convention in the city of Ivrea (Molinari 2007, 194), but innovators as

Carmelo Bene or Mario Ricci had started their experimentation at least a

decade earlier.

If Williams’ works and reputation in the 1970s were almost thoroughly

neglected, it was because all the conventions of traditional drama were

changing in the Italian theater of the time, so much so that even the revivals of his otherwise undisputed masterpieces, A Streetcar Named Desire

and The Glass Menagerie received negative reviews which considered them

“dated” and “wrinkled.” “After twenty minutes watching Un tram che si

chiama desiderio you end up feeling sick. … Thirty years have travelled

on the old streetcar, and they have made it not only a dated piece but a

deteriorated one as well” (Rea 1979). “There was no need for a revival of

this or of other plays by Tennessee Williams,” wrote a journalist reviewing

a late-1970s revival of Streetcar (Vigorelli 1978). “Can you believe that



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thirty years ago Tennessee Williams was the devil?!” (“Tamara brutta”

1974), wrote a reviewer, whose remark shows that, besides the dramatic

conventions, also society at large had deeply changed and the playwright’s

themes had much less appeal, revolutionary strength or power to shock

than at the time of their first stagings.

This had also been adumbrated by novelist and film director Mario

Soldati, who wrote a long article reviewing the publication of Williams’

letters to Donald Windham, but actually spanning many themes and

issues. In the late 1970s, he thought, Williams’ plays had become ridiculous. “The easiest explanation that can be given of this disaster is that in

the past twenty years the middle-class ethics has disappeared, and that the

fierce dramatic pieces Tennessee Williams staged in order to challenge that

ethics, to fight it and to destroy it, or at least to demonstrate its evils, now

look like the fight against a toy dinosaur” (1977). Not to mention the fact

that the 1970s were a highly politicized decade, in which his sentimental

themes, “loneliness, love and madness, were passed” or deemed of no

importance (Caretto 1983, 2). “Tastes and fashions had changed and left

him at the margins” (Savioli 1983).

The new experimental theater was “non-representational,” “author- and

actor-centered” (Taffon 2005, 160), focusing more on the appropriation

of ancient classics—Greek texts of the fifth century BC mainly, as if to go

back to the very origins of theater—and much less on contemporary texts.

The text indeed was becoming the least important element in a dramaturgy that privileged images rather than words and the actors’ body rather

than traditional scenography. This gradual abandonment of the written

and spoken text had also been suggested—in Europe earlier than in the

USA—by some authors who had actually relied on dialogue, though only

to expose its uselessness to the point of self-referentiality, the playwrights of

the Theater of the Absurd. When Williams’ decline began, insisted a critic,

“young playwrights in America were looking to Europe and writing like

Ionesco. Their idols were Jean Genet or Samuel Beckett” (Sarchielli 1966).

It is against the works of Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, mainly,

that Annette Saddik juxtaposes Williams’ later plays, blaming American

reviewers and critics who—she maintains—were not able to appreciate the

playwright’s attempts in that same tradition, with such works as The Two

Character Play, In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel and I Can’t Imagine Tomorrow

(1999, 135—150). More specifically, as Saddik writes, for his innovative drama, and for “his association with Joyce and with the established

tradition of French existentialism” (145), the towering figure of Samuel



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Beckett thrilled critics all over the Western world as a symptom of the

death of an “old” dramatic language.

Though in Italy the juxtaposition was not so sharp, an experiment that

took place in 1974 is particularly noteworthy. A young director of the

Teatro Stabile of the city of Bolzano staged the Irish and the American

author together. In the same show, he staged Portrait of a Madonna and

Happy Days, probably in an attempt to draw attention to the potential

experimentalism of Williams’ One-Act play which, it must be said, has

always been one of Italy’s favorite pieces by the US author. The result was

not so successful, though, and a reviewer who praised the swift change of

scenography from the Williams to the Beckett piece, also remarked that

Happy Days, among the two, was the “pure jewel” and that linking the

two plays was a “difficult and dangerous” task. Of the two authors, he

wrote that he “never loved the first that much. … His theater is stylistically

uneven,” while the latter’s “is dramatically sublime and often marked by

total lyricism” (Agostini 1974).



UNBREAKABLE GLASS

Dissatisfaction with Tennessee Williams’ plays had indeed older roots, but

after the release of Huston’s Night of the Iguana the resurgence of the

critics’ interest in and appreciation of Williams was short-lived and the

curtain fell on his fame for almost two decades. As I anticipated in Chap.

2 relating his sudden canonization, it is no wonder that exactly in the year

following Williams’ death two of his classics, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and

The Glass Menagerie, were revived by professional companies, thus signaling a turnaround. When the first was staged (by Giancarlo Sbragia), a critic

sounded quite aware of the process of rediscovery of Williams that was

taking place at the time. He acknowledged the “timely homage” of the

producer to a playwright that “passed away last February (but had become

passé much earlier)” (Di Giammarco 1983). Not that this renovated interest immediately led to a full re-evaluation. Quite the opposite, in spite

of the critics, who were dubious of these plays’ power to communicate,

theater companies did invest their energies in Williams’ theater without a

previous feedback from intellectuals of the time.

The culprit was the text of Cat on a Hot tin Roof: It was considered so

dated by critics that its revival was tagged as a “recycling” (Soddu 1983).

The problem was not so much the subject matter, that had scandalized

earlier audiences and that by then could not even “disturb an altar boy,”



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maintained a reviewer, as was the style that was “obsolete,” “shallow,” “bombastic” (Serra 1984). The issues at stake in the play did remain ambiguous,

and misunderstandings were simply updated to the mores of the time, as a

critic wrote that in Cat there was a “hint at a threesome” (Di Giammarco

1983) and another one conceded that Brick hated Meg because she had

tempted Skipper (Brick’s true love, in this interpretation, had cheated on

him with his wife). Though a cunning dramatic piece, in some critics’ view,

the play had no “ethical or moral finale,” characters provoked “no sympathy” while the “truth in the story could only be arrived at under torture”

(Poesio 1983). The “cat doesn’t scratch, she purrs” (Ronfani 1983). All

critics appreciated the performers, especially Carla Gravina (“aggressive,

beautiful, desirable” [Poesio 1983]), who was even “competing with” Liz

Taylor’s Maggie (Di Giammarco 1983) and had—though no critic at the

time recalled it—played the part of Matilda in the televised version of You

Touched Me! twenty years earlier. In a sort of homage to the playwright, the

director chose to use Williams’ ending and not the third act that had been

rewritten in 1955 following Elia Kazan’s advice.

The really original touch, though, was the mise en scène, with almost

nothing but a rotating platform center stage on which a bed was the real

stage for the action. The acting technique was more abstract than realistic,

and evidenced the “mental cruelty” of the characters (Ronfani 1983). The

oddest thing about the reception of this Cat is that virtually all the reviewers mentioned that its revival had something to do with the broadcasting in

Italy of the TV serials Dynasty and Dallas, which were all the rage at the time

and were causing critical disdain, but apparently spoke of American “family tragedies” that were deemed similar to those exposed by Williams’ play.

Proving the playwright’s most popular text in Italy, The Glass Menagerie

followed a few months later and was professionally produced again in

1990, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2006, 2014, and 2015. The first revival after

the author’s death was directed by Giancarlo Sepe. Olga Villi as Amanda

replaced Lilla Brignone, who had initially been chosen to play the role, but

who had died before the show could open. The most interesting aspect

of this staging was that the action took place in a movie theater instead of

the Wingfields’ apartment. Considering that in the original play Tom is

constantly escaping reality by going to the movies, the new setting offered

a highly evocative mise en abyme. The movie theater setting and the focus

on memory reminded critics of Federico Fellini and in particular of his

1973 film Amarcord (which, in Romagnol dialect, means “Mi ricordo”,

“I remember”) (Ronfani 1984).



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Before producing the play, the company had asked drama experts

“whether the play was too dated” and since the reply was that there was

that risk, they decided to abandon the realistic scenography (which indeed

was also absent in the original play) and chose what they defined a “hyperrealistic” setting (Palazzi 1984). This shows that not only critics but also

some directors were still wary of a playwright whose recent death had cast

him in a different light, though not yet transformed him into a classic for

the stage. Still, most critics appreciated the text—“sweet Southern dust”

was a definition (Sala 1984)—and the performers, above all Olga Villi,

who, it should be remembered, had been introduced to dramatic theater

(as she came from light war-time revues) by Luchino Visconti in 1945 for

his staging of Hemingway’s The Fifth Column.

The play was revived again in 1990. Once again the scenes, besides

presenting an “urban jail” surrounded by neon lights and skyscrapers,

conjured up the strong connection with the parallel universe of motion

pictures, as film posters lined the setting. Oddly enough, it was still

American television that served as a comparison to one of the characters.

The female lead, in fact, was considered so versatile as to “range from

American cinema of the 1950s to the soap-operas with which television

feeds us everyday. … she has the shallow, irresistible optimism of provincial glamour and … the deep soul of a beaten woman who had once been

a prom-queen” (Lucchesini 1990).

The habit of considering the play as a mirror of real US life was not

abandoned, and neither was the Viscontian edition ever forgotten. A critic

wrote that Visconti’s Glass Menagerie had been appreciated more by critics

than by the audience because that

melancholic staging portrayed America as too far from the powerful image

of the allies that was given in their films. But today we know how varied

American social geography is, today we are aware that the American Dream

has overwhelmed so many salesmen. Today we are definitely able to read

that simple and bitter story by Tennessee Williams in all its Chekhovian

value of poetry of times gone by and of hopes of a future that will never be.

(Giammusso 1990)



While the performer conceded she had given Amanda a mixture of

“laughter, crying and repressed sexuality” (Urbano 1990), biased readings of the playwright’s themes were not yet abandoned, as a critic maintained that The Glass Menagerie portrayed “sexual frustrations” because



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its heroine “was not yet free to indulge in fits of delirium and nymphomania” as Williams’ later characters would do (Quadri 1990). A genderoriented reading of the play by a critic evidenced a discrepancy between

the male and the female characters, as he stated that men tended to flee

from domestic settings “towards adventure,” while Williams’ women “live

on dreams or on nothing at all, for they need men as providers but also as

objects of their love” (Guerrieri 1990).

The following production was staged by a director (Alvaro Piccardi)

who opted for a traditional setting, stressing the realism of the acting and

of the mise en scène. His approach was so respectful of the text as to give

it a certain stiffness in performance, maintained the critics. “The staging

is almost sacred, maybe too motionless, and treats the play with a detachment that might want to suggest the coldness and cruelty of entomology

applied to the human psyche. As if the protagonists were insects to be

studied” (Lucidi 1996). We might assume that the director meant to convey the emotional paralysis that is so frequent in Williams’ plays, but he

evidently did not succeed in turning his vision into a convincing show, for

other critics too complained of the “precision” of his style that “unfortunately lacked new ideas” (Gizzi 1996).

The most interesting feature of the 1999 staging was German director

Werner Schroeter’s choice to tell the whole story in a flashback not of

Tom’s memories but of Amanda’s. She entered the stage first, instead of

her son, and lifted a white drape that covered the furniture, to replace it at

the end of the play, after Laura blows out the candles. Still, as in the original play, it was Tom who took up the role of the narrator. Laura played

Shubert’s “Ave Maria,” opera music, and some jazz, in the background of

Amanda’s “visionary monologues,” the ramblings of someone “who does

not understand her own family and is not understood by them” (Quadri

1999), while another critic saw the characters as “wolves in sheep’s clothing. They caress one another and from time to time they strike with their

paws” (Cordelli 1999).

Two following productions used the slides of the original script,

Bruni’s 2001 staging—that moved the action to the 1960s in some way

suggesting an Italian rather than a US apartment, and Liberovici’s production in 2006. As I have argued elsewhere (2014, 174–176) the casting

of Viscontian actress Claudia Cardinale in the role of Amanda was a bad

choice, as her French accent (or rather her efforts to hide it) made her

speech much less fluid and engaging than the character’s should be and

than it has been when delivered by other actresses such as Tatiana Pavlova,



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Piera Degli Esposti, and Sarah Ferrati. Much more so, as the director disembodied Amanda and for all of Scene One left her off-stage, using only

Cardinale’s voice for the dialogue with her children. A critic’s observation that “the director has not improved Cardinale’s artistic personality”

(Bevilacqua 2007) is a euphemism for the evident miscasting of the main

character. Cardinale was going on to be Alexandra del Lago in a Paris production of Sweet Bird of Youth in 2005.



PRIME TIME WILLIAMS

Proving to be the playwright’s most suitable work for family viewing, The

Glass Menagerie was filmed three times for RAI TV, the national broadcasting company, in 1963, 1968, and 1984. In spite of the playwright’s

reputation as an author of “detrimental” texts, in 1962 Italian television

had also aired La tua mano, a televised play based on Tennessee Williams

and Donald Windham’s version of the D.  H. Lawrence novella, You

Touched Me. One reviewer wondered how it was possible that a familyoriented television channel had come up with the idea of broadcasting “an

infernal mixture of the author of Suddenly Last Summer and that of Lady

Chatterley’s Lover.” The show was not so explicit or embarrassing after all,

the same reviewer admitted, and as he presented Williams the man as a

neurotic addicted to whisky, he believed that, had it depended on the US

playwright, the protagonist of La tua mano, Matilda, “would have had

an ambulance waiting for her at the end of the play” like his other female

characters. He attributed the happy ending to the early creation of the play

in Williams’ career, shortly before The Glass Menagerie, and didn’t refrain

from blaming the director (Eros Macchi) for focusing “on those atmospheres that were dear to the claustrophobic writer” and not to the vital

Lawrence, “showing some sort of aquarium or hothouse overcrowded

with gewgaws”1 (Rispoli 1962).

Lo zoo di vetro enjoyed two televised versions in the 1960s, one in 1963,

another in 1968. The two productions were almost identical, though the

first has not survived, while the latter is available in a DVD edition. They

were both directed by Vittorio Cottafavi (formerly assistant director for

Jean Epstein in France in 1938 and for Vittorio De Sica in 1943) while

the two male cast members were changed.2 Florentine (and Viscontian)

actress Sarah Ferrati gave the character of Amanda the sadness and the

delicacy of an Italian middle-class mother of an unidentified period following World War II, more similar to what a housewife would look in the



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early 1960s than in the years in which the play was set. The first time it was

broadcast—as evidence that those were still the last few months of Italy’s

most positive reception of Williams—critics were thrilled by the play and

declared that television had for the first time “abandoned its narrowminded conformism” and hoped that The Glass Menagerie could be the

first in a series of “cultural products of a higher level” (“Sui teleschermi”

1963). Silvio Berlusconi’s commercial television was not yet in sight.

Reviewers of the first and of the second edition extolled Ferrati’s bravura in her portrayal of Amanda, in what was deemed an “anthology of

motherly love” (Doletti 1968). Cottafavi chose a stage set for the shooting of the 1968 version, thus leaving the theatrical atmosphere intact.

Though the camera moves and frames the scenes from different angles,

it never turns to show what would be the audience, keeping the illusion

of the fourth wall. The directing technique also privileged close-ups from

which all the evocative power of the performers’ faces was used to conjure

up the constant alternation of hope and despair. The play was again produced by RAI in 1984, directed by Marcello Aliprandi, with Lea Padovani

(who had previously been Maggie in Italy and Lady Torrence in England)

in the role of Amanda Wingfield. In 1974 RAI produced one more show

from a Tennessee Williams property, namely Estate e fumo (Summer and

Smoke), with Ileana Ghione (who would later be Amanda on stage in

1996) as Alma. The program was considered a “delicate psychological

quest … with a detailed description of characters and of their inner balances (and unbalances)” (Vice 1974). In 2011 a dubbed version of Jodie

Markell’s The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond was broadcast on television as

L’amore impossibile di Fisher Willow (literally, “Fisher Willow’s impossible

love”), but it was never released in theaters, nor in a DVD edition.



THE SWEET BIRD GOES SOUR

Rossella Falk, who was Stella in the 1951 Viscontian production of Streetcar

in Milan, played three more Williams heroines in Italy: Alexandra Del

Lago in La dolce ala della giovinezza in 1989, Flora Goforth in Il treno del

latte non si ferma più qui in 1993 and Violet Venable in Improvvisamente

l’estate scorsa in 2003. Whereas the actress was extolled for her excellent

technique in Sweet Bird, the play itself was panned by critics who thought it

should not have been produced in Italy. “Williams’ bird flies low,” was the

title of a review. As they had written at the time of the release of the film,

it was considered reminiscent of Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulvard, though in



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Williams’ play, “the violence and the neurosis are now dated and blurred

by time.” While Patroni Griffi’s direction was deemed “perfect in the first

act,” the male performer, “lacking Chance’s physique du rôle, cleverly remedied the situation by playing a drifting intellectual” (Battistini 1990).

I daresay that Sweet Bird of Youth has been the unluckiest of Williams’

plays in Italy so far, as also in its second staging almost ten years later no

one really appreciated it. “Paul Newman’s sweet bird has flown away,” was

the headline in a newspaper. “The play is difficult,” wrote the reviewer,

“but the director’s choices and the performers’ acting are incomprehensible, to say the least.” Compared to his previous works, Williams’ plays of

the 1950s, maintained the critic (a poet and a writer himself) “were more

treacherous” because the playwright had lost the “full-blooded and at the

same time delicate” style of his earlier pieces and tended towards a more

intense use of symbolism. This is why such a play, he continued, “needs

great performers and an extremely firm control of the style,” which,

according to the critic, were missing in the show, except in the case of

the female lead playing Alexandra Del Lago. “Such a gruesome story,” he

declared, “should have been downplayed and ‘tamed’, making the characters more believable. The director, instead, opted for a staging that is

melodramatic and derisory but ended up doing so with grisly coarseness”

(Raboni 1998).

In spite of the flop of Sweet Bird, it was Rossella Falk who decided to

play in The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore and to produce it herself. Most reviews unflinchingly praised her acting—the role seemed suited

on her, a “queen” of the stage, who could play with voice, gestures and

costumes to conjure up the character of an old, golden glory. The play

itself, though, did not garner much enthusiasm. The first part was considered much more convincing than the second (the play was performed in

Italy in two acts), which, in the words of a critic, revealed “some sort of

blackout of inspiration and of narrative imagination.” Still, the same critic

conceded that he preferred a failed text like Milk Train to the “artificial

perfection of so much contemporary American theater” (Raboni 1992).

As all reviewers recalled the world premiere in 1962, many compared the

main character to two other Williams women, Alexandra Del Lago and

Violet Venable, as well as—again—to Billy Wilder’s Norma Desmond.

The absence of Milk Train from Italian stages since the time of its first

production in English at the Festival of Two Worlds was ascribed to its

mixture of “fear of death and necrophilia” (Quadri 1992). “To tell the

truth,” wrote a critic, “Milk Train looks more like a soap-opera for



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