THE ROSE TATTOO, A PLAY BY TENNESSEE WILLIAMS (BOOK REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATION)
I have this thing about Tennessee. I had read all of his plays (and a few of his biographies as well). I suppose it could be said that somewhere along the way I just fell in love with his style of writing.
The Rose Tattoo is a hidden gem. It may not be one of his best known works, but it is a great play. Beautifully written (has ever a playwright been more lyrical?) and profoundly touching. Its exploration of daughter and mother relationship, is just as ingenious and skilful as the one in the better know The Glass Menagerie. As is often the case with Williams, it is a female character that is in the centre of the play.
Serafina, for you everything has got to be a different sign, a miracle, a wonder of some kind. You speak to Our Lady. You say that She answers your questions. She nods or shakes Her head at you. Look, Serafina, underneath Our Lady you have a candle. The wind through the shutters makes the candle flicker. The shadows move. Our Lady seems to be nodding.
This time the tragic heroine is Serafina Delle Rose. Serafina is portrayed tenderly but with great attention to detail. Her portrayal is precious. Serafina, is shown to us, as a woman, as a human being with faults and virtues. Just like Blanche from Streetcar she has her shortcomings and the way she behaves is sometimes quite absurd. Nevertheless, Serafina, like Blanche, possesses a great inner strength. Is Serafina a strong woman? That she certainly is. She doesn't give up easily, she defends her choices with all she has got and in the process takes us on a road of soul-searching with her.
The play opens with Serafina sitting on the sofa waiting for her husband Rosario's return. Serafina is a Sicilian women living in USA. She absolutely worships her husband and makes him the very purpose of her life. She makes a religion out of her love, as her adoration of her husband is enforced by her Roman-Catholicism. Having found a complete physical, emotional and spiritual fulfillment in her relationship, it could be said that she is perfectly content. Well, it's not a drama if two people fall in a love, get married and live happily ever after, is it? I don’t think it is a spoiler if I let you know that Serafina’s marriage isn’t as perfect as she believes it to be. She might utterly and absolutely adore her husband, but does he feel the same?
" You love your people but you don't understand them. They find God in each other. Any when they lose each other, they lose God and they're lost. And it is hard to help them" The Rose Tattoo, Tennessee Williams.
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