Loneliness, sexual tension and the need for human kindness pervade these three plays by Tennessee Williams, as their characters rage against personal demons and the modern world. In 'Sweet Bird of Youth', a drifter, Chance Wayne, returns to his home town with an ageing movie actress in search of the girl he loved in his youth, but with terrible, violent results. 'Period of Adjustment' tells the story of two young newlyweds who visit the husband's old army friend on Christmas Eve after unsuccessfully consummating their marriage, and unleash forbidden passion, while in 'The Night of the Iguana' a diverse group of people, including a disturbed ex-minister and a troubled spinster, are thrown together in an isolated Mexican hotel for one eventful night.
Tennessee Williams was born in 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi, where his grandfather was the episcopal clergyman. When his father, a travelling salesman, moved with his family to St Louis some years later, both he and his sister found it impossible to settle down to city life. He entered college during the Depression and left after a couple of years to take a clerical job in a shoe company. He stayed there for two years, spending the evenings writing. He entered the University of Iowa in 1938 and completed his course, at the same time holding a large number of part-time jobs of great diversity. He received a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1940 for his play Battle of Angels, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 and 1955. Among his many plays Penguin have published The Glass Menagerie (1944), A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Baby Doll (1957), Suddenly Last Summer (1958) and Sweet Bird of Youth (1959).