Synopses & Reviews
The acclaimed classic in a new edition, now with a new introduction, the author's original foreword and afterword, the one-act play 10 Blocks on the Camino Real, plus an essay by noted Tennessee Williams scholar, Michael Paller.
In this phantasmagorical play, the Camino Real (pronounciation: Cá-mino Réal) is a long highway, a dead end, a police state in a vaguely Latin American country, a nightmare, and an inescapable condition. Characters from history and literatureDon Quixote, Casanova, Camille, Lord Byroninhabit a place where corruption, starvation, indifference and greed have immobilized anyone who tries to escape. Then, into this netherworld, the archetypal Kilroy arrivesa sailor and all-American guy with "a heart as big as the head of baby." Like others before him in the Camino Real, Kilroy is robbed, conned, turned into a patsy, and he very nearly breaks...but not quite. When this experimental epic opened on Broadway in 1953, it confounded the critics, but not the audiences. The play's iconic/ironic humor, playful conceits, and towering concerns about society's demand for conformity, the courage of the artist, and the power of compassion have made it a classic.
When first produced in 1953 Camino Real confounded critics and confused audiences. It was scarcely a success. Later productions in Los Angeles and New York indicated that the public had caught up with this work and could face its picture of our world--grim but not without magnificence.
In this phantasmagorical play, the Camino Real is a dead end, a police state in a vaguely Latin American country, and an inescapable condition. Characters from history and literature--Don Quixote, Casanova, Camille, Lord Byron--inhabit a place where corruption and indifference have immobilized and nearly destroyed the human spirit. Then, into this netherworld, the archetypal Kilroy arrives--a sailor and all-American guy with "a heart as big as the head of baby." Celebrated American playwright John Guare has written an illuminative Introduction for this edition. Also included are Williams' original Foreword and Afterword to the play, the one-act play "Ten Blocks on the Camino Real," plus an essay by noted Tennessee Williams scholar Michael Paller.
About the Author
Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) is one of the most acclaimed playwrights of the twentieth century. New Directions publishes his letters, short stories, poems, fiction, memoir, essays and over sixty of his plays including The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Camino Real, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Orpheus Descending, and The Night of the Iguana. John Guare is the New York Drama Critics Circle and Tony Award-winning author of The House of Blue Leaves, Six Degrees of Separation, Lake Hollywood, and the librettos for the Broadway musicals Two Gentlemen of Verona and Sweet Smell of Success, as well as the screenplay for Atlantic City.