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Come Back, Little Sheba


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A: William Inge Pf: 1950, New York Pb: 1950 G: Drama in 2 acts S: Delaneys' home in a Midwestern city, 1940s C: 8m, 3fDoc Delaney and his childhood sweetheart wife Lola have been married for 20 years. They were forced to marry when Lola found that she was pregnant, and Doc had to give up his medical studies and become a chiropractor instead. Lola's baby soon died, and since then she has been childless and become a slattern, mourning her dead baby and pathetically calling for her long-lost puppy Sheba. Doc, similarly disillusioned, became an alcoholic, but has been abstinent for years now, begging Lola to forget the past and live in the present. They have as a lodger Marie Buckholder, an attractive young art student, whose neat appearance and trim body contrast with Lola's corpulent sloppiness. Lola encourages Marie's fiancé Turk, a javelin thrower, to spend the night with Marie. When Doc learns this, his suppressed desire for the seemingly virginal Marie drives him back to the bottle, and in a drunken fit he smashes up the home and chases Lola with a hatchet. Friends from Alcoholics Anonymous drag him off to hospital so that he can dry out. A week later Doc returns, and Lola tells him that she has dreamed that little Sheba is dead, and will not call her back any more.

A: William Inge Pf: 1950, New York Pb: 1950 G: Drama in 2 acts S: Delaneys' home in a Midwestern city, 1940s C: 8m, 3f

Inge was one of the most successful American playwrights of the 1950s, and this is his best play, which, when performed with conviction, will easily win over audiences with its concoction of melodrama and popular psychology. It is like a sanitized version of Tennessee Williams, whose Glass Menagerie inspired Inge to write plays.

Subjects: Theatre — Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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