The Custom House
281 Front St, Key West, FL 33040
Presented by Stephen Kitsakos
A discussion that illuminates the playwright’s later one-act plays. In the canon of American dramatic literature, Williams is one of the leading writers of plays, short stories and poetry. Influenced by the socio-cultural underpinnings of American society, both pre-and-post WWII, he captured a realism and exposed a harsh brutality expressed in his characters: women and men searching for love and acceptance in a world that was relentingly hostile. His life in Key West, where he lived between 1941 and 1983, was a canvas for his artistic achievement and many of his most famous works were conceived at his house on Duncan Street. When he fell out of favor with critics and audiences in the late 1950’s, he continued to develop his craft and write plays that flirted with the post-modern art movements that were were reactions to the socio-political dichotomy of the 1950’s. His later one-act plays, in particular, were erotic and experimental, often presenting characters whose motivations and desires did not hide behind the coded and veiled references that were part of Williams’ earlier works.
Stephen Kitsakos is a theater director, dramaturge and author of opera librettos with the American composer Sheila Silver including the adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns, commissioned by American Opera Projects, premiering with the Seattle Opera in 2020 season. A professor of Theatre Arts for fifteen years and Asst. Chair at SUNY New Paltz in New York, he has been a dramaturge and director of many new plays. At Theatre Row in NYC, he directed the premiere of Red Masquerade by Jack Wade and Suddenly Last Summer for The Tennessee Williams Project. He directed Life Story: Two One-Act Plays by Tennessee Williams “Green Eyes” and “The Traveling Companion” for KWAHS in 2018 and will direct for them Underwater: Two Later Plays by Tennessee Williams – “Lifeboat Drill” and “Kingdom of Earth”. Currently he serves as the President of the Board of The Studios of Key West