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Rose Tattoo


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A: Tennessee Williams Pf: 1950, Chicago Pb: 1951 G: Com. in 3 acts S: Cottage on Gulf coast between New Orleans and Mobile, 1947–50 C: 9m, 13f, 2 children (1m, 1f)Serafina delle Rose, a seamstress of Sicilian descent, is, together with her 12-year-old daughter Rosa, excitedly awaiting the return of her husband Rosario, who drives a truck and is involved in drug running. Serafina has good news: she is pregnant again (his rose tattoo imprinted itself on her breast when they made love). News comes that he has been shot dead, and she has a miscarriage. Three years later, Serafina has become an untidy slut. Rosa tried cutting her wrists after Serafina prevented her from seeing Jack Hunter, a new boyfriend she met at a dance, but is allowed out for her high school graduation. When Serafina learns that her husband had an affair with a blonde blackjack dealer, she makes Jack swear to ‘respect the innocence’ of her daughter. Serafina meets Alvaro, a young simple-minded truck-driver, and feels her prayers are answered: ‘A clown of a face…with my husband's body!’ That evening, Serafina dresses beautifully to welcome Alvaro. He has had his chest tattooed with a rose. In the early hours when Rosa comes home still a virgin, she screams at finding a strange man in the house. Serafina, rushing to her aid, smashes the urn containing her husband's ashes. Rosa leaves to take Jack to a hotel room, and Serafina feels the imprint of a rose on her breast once more.

A: Tennessee Williams Pf: 1950, Chicago Pb: 1951 G: Com. in 3 acts S: Cottage on Gulf coast between New Orleans and Mobile, 1947–50 C: 9m, 13f, 2 children (1m, 1f)

This is one of the few comedies written by Tennessee Williams, using the theme, at least as old as Twelfth Night, of passion that overcomes self-indulgent grief. Significantly, he set this in the life-affirming community of American Sicilians in the southern sun.

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


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Tennessee Williams (1911—1983) American dramatist


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