In a plantation house, a family celebrates the sixty-fifth birthday of Big Daddy, as they sentimentally dub him. The mood is somber, despite the festivities, because a number of evils poison the gaiety: greed, sins of the past and desperate, clawing hopes for the future spar with one another as the knowledge that Big Daddy is dying slowly makes the rounds. Maggie, Big Daddy's daughter-in-law, wants to give him the news that she's finally become pregnant by Big Daddy's favorite son, Brick, but Brick won't cooperate in Maggie's plans and prefers to stay in a mild alcoholic haze the entire length of his visit. Maggie has her own interests at heart in wanting to become pregnant, of course, but she also wants to make amends to Brick for an error in judgment that nearly cost her her marriage. Swarming around Maggie and Brick are their intrusive, conniving relatives, all eager to see Maggie put in her place and Brick tumbled from his position of most-beloved son. By evening's end, Maggie's ingenuity, fortitude and passion will set things right, and Brick's love for his father, never before expressed, will retrieve him from his path of destruction and return him, helplessly, to Maggie's loving arms. NOTE: The revised version of this play, as presented by the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Connecticut, and subsequently on Broadway in 1974, is also available for amateur production. (ISBN: 978-0-8112-1601-2).
One of the most successful plays of our time. "…a play of tremendous dramatic impact…enormous theatrical power." —NY Post. "…Williams has fashioned his most compelling characters." —NY Journal-American. "This is a gripping and intensely moving play, a play that can hold its own with anything written in the post-O'Neill American theater…Brilliant scenes, scenes of sudden and lashing dramatic power, break open…There is, indeed, no one moment in the evening when the stinging accuracy of Mr. Williams' ear for human speech is not compellingly in evidence…Mr. Williams is the man of our time who comes closest to hurling the actual blood and bone of life onto the stage; he is also the man whose prose comes closest to being an incisive natural poetry." —NY Times.